Dealing with difficult students


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Dealing with difficult students

  1. 1. Sense of failure, rejection,threat To avoid these feelings ◦ Clarify types of behaviour ◦ Understand some causes ◦ Generate solutions ◦ Separate behaviour from person ◦ Take ourselves out
  2. 2. Certain behaviours areexpected Punctuality Regular attendance Performance of required tasks Paying attention Coming prepared Dressing appropriately Being polite Being respectful
  3. 3. If students break these rules . .. Poses a problem to instructor trying to manage a group so that it is functional First thing to do—rank those behaviours in order of importance.
  4. 4.  Now categorize each type of behaviour by what ◦ Makes you angry ◦ Seems senseless ◦ Embarrasses you ◦ Amuses you ◦ Can you deal with easily ◦ Can you understand
  5. 5.  Now select the types of behaviour that make you angry and think about the last time you had to deal with it Analyze what happened ◦ What led up to it? ◦ How did other students react? ◦ How did you intervene? ◦ What were the activities in the classroom at the time? ◦ What was the outcome?
  6. 6. What are the factors that makelearning successful? Having fun Being involved Discovering Achieving goals Understanding the purpose of tasks
  7. 7. What interferes with learning? Fear of failure Boredom Unrealistic goals Not understanding the purpose of tasks Feeling tired
  8. 8. Prevention is better thanPrescription………………. Impossible to avoid all difficulties Clear outline of expectations and evaluative criteria are critical. Leave you less vulnerable.
  9. 9. PREVENTION! Clearly state expectations concerning class attendance, participation, and the timely completion of assignments UP FRONT. Hand out a document that outlines these criteria.
  10. 10. Tell them Where You are Coming From Communicate your biases so they know what type of work you expect. Explain your own critical methodology and interests to give them an idea as to what approaches you prefer.
  11. 11.  Be an ally, not an adversary. Be accessible. Be warm and supportive in encouraging your students participation in class.
  12. 12.  Be careful when correcting students in class—don’t embarrass them or put them on the defensive. Point out mistakes in a positive and constructive manner that is not discouraging. Help students recognize for themselves flaws in their argument or response.
  13. 13.  Befair and ethical. Students talk to each other and compare notes. Interveneearly when a problem arises, documenting and saving copies of all your efforts to reach out to a given student.
  14. 14. Make sure that yourattitude in classserves as a modelof how you expect your students to behave and participate in your class.
  15. 15. Grading Making your grading policies and expectations as transparent as possible. This will help but will not totally preclude difficulties.
  16. 16. Assignments are late or not turned in Unambiguously state your policy on how late or missing assignments will be handled in the syllabus that you distribute on the first day of class.
  17. 17.  Speak to student in private to determine the cause of their failure to complete the assignments in an appropriate manner. Make the student aware of negative impact on grade. Remind the student that ultimately they are in control of their coursework.
  18. 18. Document theinteraction that youhave with your studentconcerning the missedassignment(s).
  19. 19.  Communicate by email orfollow up an in-persondiscussion with an emailreiterating the pertinentaspects of theconversation.
  20. 20. Missed Exam Discuss how youll handle missed exams and quizzes at the beginning of the semester. What will be your policy on making up missed exams? Stick to your policy so as to maintain total fairness with all students.
  21. 21. Student Argues Grade Make grading criteria clear from the outset of the course. Use a grading/point system that is clear and straightforward so that it is easily defendable and easy for your students to understand.
  22. 22.  Furnish students with the criteria necessary for success so that they know how to meet your expectations. If possible, hand out guidelines for a good essay or examples of a superior exam answer.
  23. 23.  When you grade, give detailed explanations of why you found a given point weak or strong and offer suggestions as to how the work might be improved. Give the students ideas about how to study or organize their ideas more effectively.
  24. 24.  Offer the option of handing in an initial draft of their work that you will comment on but not grade. Ask the student to explain to you in specific terms why his or her work deserved a better grade.
  25. 25.  Consider a re-grade policy whose details you spell out in your syllabus. Or formulate a policy for yourself in advance of having to implement it.
  26. 26.  If you agree to re-evaluate student work, make it clear that you retain the right to adjust the grade either up or down. Warn the student that you may find mistakes or problems that you hadnt noticed the first time around, which could adversely affect their grade.
  27. 27.  Always keep an open mind to the possibility that you may have made a mistake in evaluating student work and that re- evaluation might indeed be in order.
  28. 28. Student offers to do extra creditto compensate List all of the assignments that will accrue towards the final grade on your first-day syllabus, making it clear that supplemental work will not be factored into the grade.
  29. 29.  Remind the student that the concept of "extra credit" has currency in the arena of secondary education but is no longer operative at the university level.
  30. 30. Classroom Behaviours The late student ◦ Speak to the student in private ◦ Ask that they enter unobtrusively if necessary ◦ Always start class on time.
  31. 31. ◦ Give quizzes at beginning of class◦ Address the class as a whole, insist on the importance of punctuality as a mark of respect not only towards the instructor and course material but also towards the other students in the class.◦ Emphasize that you respect your students and that such respect should be reciprocal.
  32. 32.  Excessive absence ◦ Make sure that you state your policy on attendance in your syllabus, indicating whether a certain number of absences will result in the lowering of a grade. ◦ Contact the student individually to find out what the circumstances of their absence are.
  33. 33. ◦ Warn the student that their grade will probably suffer as a result of their chronic absences.◦ If attendance is not required and the student is doing well, you may be better off not addressing the issue with that student.
  34. 34.  Chronically hostile or disruptive ◦ Contact the student. Document and keep records. ◦ Ask for, listen to, and try to understand the students perspective. ◦ Sometimes disruptive behavior reflects a desperate need for attention. Listening may help.
  35. 35. ◦You may often discover that the attitude has nothing to do with you◦ or your class and that the student is not even aware that they seem hostile
  36. 36. ◦If the student has a specific problem, ask them to suggest possible solutions.◦ Try to think of ways that you could help, within the limits of your role as an instructor.
  37. 37. ◦ Frame your comments on the students behavior in terms of "stress" so as to keep them from feeling judged or attacked.◦ Stress provides a neutral and safe context within which to discuss disruptive behavior and attitudes.
  38. 38.  If the problem persists, talk to other faculty members who have had the student in their classes. ◦ Talk to a dean or to someone at Student Services to get further input and support.
  39. 39. Chronically argumentative student Support your position by relying on the course materials, to which you both have access. Suggest that he/she continue the discussion during your office hours. Remain calm and nonjudgmental. Do not take it personally. .
  40. 40.  Listen to and try to understand the students perspective. Dont assert your authority as the professor. Avoid introducing your statements with "I." If a student is stubborn and refuses to postpone a disagreement until after class or office hours and completely disrupts a class, remain calm
  41. 41. ◦If the student is agitated to the point of being unreasonable,◦ ask them to carry the grievance to a higher authority (e.g., the department head or dean).
  42. 42. ◦ Make apparent your willingness to discuss the issue calmly,◦ but do not continue trying to reason with a student who is highly agitated.◦ If you remain calm in the presence of the group, the student may soon become cooperative again.
  43. 43.  In an extreme case, you may have to ask the student to leave the classroom, or even dismiss the class. Try to respond as calmly as possible. Avoid making an issue out of a small incident. The hardest part of such a situation is to maintain your professionalism, and not to respond as if you feel personally attacked.