No matter how experienced we are in presenting or facilitating, we will, on some occasion run into people who are difficult. Though it only happens occasionally, if this is not managed properly, the disruption can spread like a cancer throughout most of the entire group. We will discuss in this lesson how to avoid difficulties as much as possible, and then, when they do occur, how we can manage difficult classroom situations.
Ask someone to read the objectives. These all serve as an overview to the lesson. Student manual page 73
Show this slide and engage the class in discussion, soliciting their ideas.
Our last lesson plays a critical role in helping to prevent disruption in the classroom. If we consistently apply the principles of adult learning theory and consistently practice active listening as we just discussed, we are well on our way to proper management of our groups. Sometimes (BUT NOT ALWAYS), it is the fault of the trainer/facilitator. It may be because of the way we set the tone, or our personal demeanor toward the participants. How do we know if this is the case? If you start to see a pattern of disruptions from class to class, it may be the facilitators fault. Let’s look at some things a facilitator can do to prevent some of the disruptions that can occur in the classroom. Student manual page 75
Long before we set foot in the classroom, we need to properly prepare to avoid disruptions. Get to the classroom as early as possible to give yourself plenty of time to get to know your facility and to solve some of the problems that might arise. If your class starts early in the morning and you can come the afternoon before to set up, that can make things go more smoothly on the first day. Have all participant manuals, handouts, paper, etc. present and ready to use. The last thing you want to do is forget your own training materials! If you are using a Powerpoint presentation, always bring a back-up copy on a CD or a jump drive. All equipment should be set up ahead of time and be working properly. Cables and wires need to be placed as safely out of the way as possible. How many times have you seen a presenter run in at the last minute, apologize, start fumbling with cables, apologize, turn everything on, apologize, something not boot-up properly, apologize, start all over, apologize and – well, you get the idea. Training aids must be relevant, readable and supportive. Don’t have slides with nice graphics just to have nice graphics. The instructor/facilitator must be prepared and thoroughly familiar with the material. I have actually heard, too many times, a presenter apologize immediately for not being fully prepared, but stating we will get through it together. My inclination is to abandon the class and let them get through it on their own! Student manual page 75
When designing the class and the activities, we must make sure it is pertinent to the group we will be presenting to, and we must make sure it is really needed. We must know the group, what they need and expect. ASK: How will this be accomplished? Sometimes it is a phone call to the person requesting the event. You need to know the background, age and experience of the group, if possible. Sometimes you might have the opportunity to do a formal or informal needs assessment. More often, it is about knowing your target population, it’s needs and vulnerabilities.
We can set the tone early by being in the room before any participants arrive, get everything prepared, and then greet each participant as they arrive, making them feel welcome. By noticing body language and tone, you will be able to get a clue as to the participant’s attitude, and, perhaps more importantly, the attitude of the group as a whole. Many times participants come in upset over something that has nothing to do with the training, but this is an “easy” place to take out their aggression and anger over a different situation. Sometimes logistics do not allow us to have everything set up in the room before the first participant arrives. If that is the case, you should still take a brief moment, welcome the person and then continue with your set-up. Student manual page 75
Now if we truly like conflict and don’t wish to have a good experience, we can do certain things to really make them all angry. (Obviously, the point is that if we DON’T do these things, we will have greater chance for success.) Offend not only individual values, but the values of the group as a whole. What are some examples? Use foul language or “street” language when it is not necessary to the training. Reduce their freedom There are several ways we could do this, here are only two. What other ways might we reduce the freedom of our participants? (Don’t allow them to participate – you do all the talking; don’t allow questions; shorten the lunch time; etc.) Note: If you believe it is necessary to separate folks for any reason (not sitting together from the same organization, etc.), have name tents set up before the training so as the participants arrive, they can find their place and sit down. If it becomes necessary to split up folks who might be disruptive (lots of side talking), do it in an unobtrusive manner so it does not draw undo attention to the ‘offenders.’ You might say something like, “after lunch I am going to scramble your seating up so you can work with someone you haven’t already worked with.” Student manual page 76 Supplemental reading pages 67-69 have more information on this subject
Violate their expectations. Start late and keep them past dismissal time. Ask for their input and expectations during the opening portion of the time together, and then completely ignore everything they said. Don’t have coffee available. (Note: this can be difficult when working for the state. Current regulations do not allow using state funds to pay for coffee or snacks for state employees or others. Trainers often will supply some of these things out of their own pocket. At least try to have the hosting agency have coffee available for the group.) Tell them they are wrong when they answer a question. This will shut them down quickly and shut others down if it happens several times. Nobody will want to take a chance on being told they are wrong in front of the whole group. SAY: Let’s practice some ways to respond when a participant answers incorrectly. What are some suggestions on how to handle these responses? *You ask your group to describe safer sex. A participant says “Always be the top”. A group member says, “People over 50 can’t get HIV.” Another group member says, “ They have a cure for HIV. Look at Magic Johnson…” Some possible responses include: “ Well another way to look at that is….” “ That is real close, but not quite what I am looking for.” “ You are on the right track, try to take it a little further.” “ I hadn’t thought about it that way before. What do the rest of you think?” “ OK, thanks, who else has another idea?” Student manual page 76
Some other suggestions to prevent disruption in the classroom include: Personalize the session. Ask for their input on how the training should go, and then carry out feasible suggestions. When breaking into groups, appoint participants as leaders of those groups. Personalize your presence. Early in the presentation, or during introductions, self-share with the group your qualifications for presenting the material, or your experience using the material in real-life situations. Prospect relationships are those that you have developed with participants before class or during breaks. Pay attention to those who seem to be having the most difficulty with being there, have friendly conversations and, if appropriate, bring up and address whatever their concerns may be. Winning them over can be easier outside the session rather than during the session, in front of their peers. Ally relationships. Perhaps this may seem a little manipulative to some, but using conversations you have had before class or on breaks with those who support you and seem to have the respect of the group, can help bring others around. An example might be something like, “Mary mentioned to me during break that….” If Mary is respected by the group, those who have not come around may feel that if Mary thinks you are OK, then they ought to give you a chance also. This is why speakers are introduced. It adds to the credibility of the presenter. Remember, Type 2 learners are impressed by ‘experts.’ Student manual page 76
ASK: What are reasons a group or members of a group might come to a training already angry? Some answers might include: they were “forced to come by supervisors”, “The class is a requirement for other services they wish to receive.” If a group comes to the training angry, let them vent to get the anger out. Simply state that you sense there is something going on and they don’t seem to be happy about being there and you would like to allow them to talk about it. A sympathetic statement can help. Saying something such as, “Wow, I wouldn’t be real happy to be here either, if I was in that circumstance. I certainly appreciate you being here, even with all that going on.” A humorous statement can help diffuse anger also. “Who would like to be the first to testify how happy you are to be here today?” This technique is also a possibility if anger comes up and is wide spread during a class or group session. Student manual page 77
When a class is not going well due to resentment, anger, or other issues, bridge building to help repair the situation can be critical. During break, talk to those that seem to be the most upset and see if you can fully understand the situation and tell them you will try to fix it, if you can. Just showing that you care can be a help. If protest continues, tell them you agree that it is important, but you would like to be able to table, or lay aside, the issues for the time being and get on with the material at hand. Tell them you will be willing to discuss the issues at the end of the day or the end of the course. Using a Parking Lot can help here also. Rewards can help build alliances. No, we can’t give money away, but we can reward with extra lunch time, getting out earlier than stated on the agenda, bringing in donuts or fruit, placing individually wrapped candy on the tables, etc. If your budget allows, giveaways such as pens, calendars, planners, etc., are often appreciated. On the slide, money pops up first and then disappears automatically Student manual page 77 NOTE: The graphics of money flash on the screen with ‘Rewards’ and then disappear before the bullets come up.
Sometimes, no matter what we do to try to prevent it, we will have participants who will disrupt, or try to disrupt, the program. These disruptions fall into three broad categories: Withdrawal – the person withdraws from the group. We can further divide this into two broad categories: Passive Withdrawal – the person just sits there and does not respond or participate. His/her actions do not usually disturb others. S/he may cross his/her arms, stare other places and certainly not participate. Aggressive withdrawal – the person is engaging in an activity that overtly shows they have withdrawn. It may be reading a magazine or even a newspaper, knitting, physically turning his/her chair away, going to the back and reading material on the walls and standing with his/her back to you, and perhaps even leaving the room to go on their own (unnecessary) break. Diversion – This can take many forms. Examples are starting side conversations with fellow participants, constantly bringing up irrelevant topics to get you off subject, and making noise disturbances such as tapping pens/pencils to draw your attention. Attack – the person makes verbal attacks against the presenter. “I know more than you.”; “I knew all this before.”; “What makes you such an expert? You’ve never done this in the ‘real world’.”; “You can’t control me.”; “I’m not doing any stupid role-plays.” Sometimes attack is more subtle when the participant just keeps asking tough, obscure questions he/she as pretty sure you can’t answer. Sometimes activities such as knitting are not aggressive withdrawal, but just a tactile learner that needs to keep his/her hands busy. Student manual page 77 SSR pgs. 71-72
Whew, kind of scary, right? And that is exactly what some want– to instill fear so you are not effective. Let’s look at some specifics. A trainer needs, or wants, to be effective, in control and liked. However, when a participant goes into withdrawal, our self-talk says, “I’m not effective.” When diversion happens, we tell ourselves, “I’m not in control.” And when we are verbally attacked, we tell ourselves, “They don’t like me.” When we engage in this negative self-talk, we: Increase our nervousness and self-consciousness. Reduce our self-confidence and concentration. Decrease our effectiveness. We can actually talk ourselves into depression. We can beat ourselves up pretty bad with feelings of not being a “good” presenter or facilitator. Most presenters are very sensitive to the reaction of the participants as they want to do a good job. Sometimes on end- of-course critiques, a presenter will obsess over that one low rating from a participant, even if 40 others were all top rated. The most effective advice here is don’t personalize when things don’t go well. Simply recognize the situation for what it is and if applicable, do it different next time. Student manual page 78
As we have just seen, disruption can have some pretty serious effects on our presentations and even our personal feelings of self-worth. So everything we can do to handle disruption when it occurs and before it gets out-of-hand, is critical. We need to keep a physics lesson in mind when we are deciding what to do. As we learned in school, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” What this means for us in a group situation is that the more pressure I exert on disrupters, the more they resist – USUALLY, BUT NOT ALWAYS! This applies more to the person that is being disruptive on purpose. Many times participants do not even realize they are being disruptive and when we take corrective measures and at the lowest appropriate level, they stop immediately. Student manual page 79
This slide illustrates the actions we can take. The range is from those that have the least risk for the presenter, participant, and the program up to those that have the highest risk for all three. There is a chart in the supplemental reading that has even more details than what is on this slide. It shows the advantages, disadvantages, and when it is appropriate to use a particular tactic. You might want to turn to that now as we go through these steps. (Pages 65-66 in your supplemental reading.) Avoidance – Simply ignoring the behavior and proceeding with the class. If two are talking, or one is in withdrawal, going up and standing beside, or between the disrupters can be effective. Placing your hand on the table or back of the chair of the disrupters as you continue to speak to the group, often works. Acceptance – Find out the reason for the disruption and continue. For example they say, “We already know how to do this.” Let them demonstrate, and if successful, move on to the next topic. Adaptation – Divert trainee resistance to support the training. When they strongly disagree with you, you immediately switch sides and argue for them. “You’re right, that’s a good point.” Adamancy (Standing Fast) – “I understand you don’t want to do this right now, but I am required to stick to the curriculum and if you will bear with me, I think you will see the value in this.” Counter-Attack (Pushing Back) – The option of last resort. Directly confront the disruption. This may include dismissing the participant from the session. This tactic sometimes allows the group itself to control their peers. The supplemental reading chart has lots more information on each of these tactics. Student manual page 79
Page of 30 – Classroom Management Lesson Nine – Classroom Management October 2008 Facilitation/Presentation Skills Say: Let’s do an exercise to learn about particular styles of challenging participants and how to deal with them. Procedure: Arrange seven chairs in a circle in the front of the room; post the prepared easel paper listing all roles for the exercise. Gatekeeper Encourager Information Giver Summarizer Blocker Dominator Information Seeker. Ask for seven volunteers to participate in the exercise. Ask them to come and sit in the circle. Give out index cards (see notes) face down to each trainee participating in the exercise. Give trainees participating in the exercise the following topic to discuss in their roles. Ask trainees participating in the exercise to turn their index cards over and read their role and descriptions to themselves ( do not share with other trainees ). Student Manual pg. 80 SSR pgs 73-74 Roles described on cards for this exercise: Information Giver: Your role is to give information . Provide facts and information about things discussed, even if you have to make it up. Summarizer: Your role is to s ummarize . Do this often during the discussion. Offer conclusions, and restate points. Review what has been already talked about. Gatekeeper: Your function is Gatekeeping. Try to get everyone involved in the discussion. Say things like “Let’s hear from ________ about this idea.” Also, offer suggestions about how the group might be able to work together more effectively. Con’d on next page
Ask participants to consider each of these participant types and brainstorm how to handle them. The Dominator and Blocker are usually the mostly difficult participants in a group. They can take over the group and block any constructive conversation. The Information Seeker is generally less difficult but can still be disruptive, if they are constantly interrupting or demanding information. They may also ask for information that is not relevant to the topics under discussion. The Gatekeeper , Encourager , Information Giver and Summarizer all display traits that can be helpful when facilitating a group. However, such participants may also disrupt the group dynamics. When necessary, limit these participants’ input to ensure that they do not speak significantly more than the others in the group. Here are some suggestions for working with each type. Dominator: Make sure there is a group rule about one person talking at a time and “right to participate.” Use the rules to ensure that the dominators do not talk so much that others in the group do not participate as much as they want. You can limit their participation by calling on other participants and soliciting their opinions. Blocker: Make sure one of the group rules is about respecting other people’s opinions. Use the rule to keep these participants from making repeated negative comments about other participants’ ideas. If they rehash issues, remind them of the time constraints of the session and that you need to move on. Encourager Your function is to encourage others . Be friendly and responsive. Agree with people. Praise and accept people and their contributions. Information Seeker Seek information and opinions. Request facts. Ask for suggestions and opinions. Blocker Disagree and resist. Re-hash issues that have already been settled. Be stubborn Dominator Your role is to dominate the group discussion. Talk a lot. Interrupt people. Be forceful. Try to take over the group.
Information Seeker: Use a parking lot to let participants post questions that you will answer at the end of each session, as time allows. If you don’t have time, you can offer to pass out information on the topic at the start of the next session. Work on having the information needed to answer questions that may arise from the content of your presentation. Provide pamphlets or other handouts for participants’ resources. If asked a question for which you don’t have the answer, tell participants that you will get back to them at the next session. Gatekeeper: Let these participants help you to keep the conversation rolling, while making sure they participate themselves. Make sure there is a group rule about “right to pass.” Use the rule to ensure that gatekeepers don’t force other participants to participate when they don’t want to do so. Encourager: Social support is a very positive part of this intervention, but encouragers sometimes are so busy supporting everyone that they don’t share their own opinions/questions/experiences with the group. Try to draw these participants into conversation or ask them if they are willing to role-play. Call on them, if they show any signs of willingness. Information Giver: It is good when information comes from the group, instead of from the facilitators, but only if it is accurate information. As with the Information Seeker, it is helpful to have as much information as possible at your fingertips. Use the resource packet to help you correct misinformation, without disparaging the participant. Allow other participants to express their concerns about the validity of the information, again without saying things that are personally negative about the Information Giver. Summarizer: It is also good when a group member can summarize what you’ve been discussing, instead of it always coming from the facilitators, but only if it is done accurately. Allow other participants to do their own summarizing, again without saying things that are personally negative about the Summarizer. As with the Encourager, try to make sure they are participating in other ways as well, if they are willing to do so. Refer participants to the handout in the Supplemental Reading titled: Working with Challenging Participants: Suggestions for Working with Challenging Participants . It is currently on SSR pgs 73-74 .
During this lesson we discussed… Go over the slide and review these points by asking some good questions of the group. This lesson has shown us that good classroom management skills are critical to the success of our presentations or group sessions. We need to keep our cool in the face of disruption in order to preserve our power of management choice. We need to know and use the full repertoire of these choices. And we MUST NOT take participant hostility personally, it comes with the job!
An alternative exercise on the next 3 slides.
Optional activity Make this activity fun and safe for the participants. Set it up well and they can have a good time with this. Take the volunteer out in the hallway and tell them to just speak naturally for 2-5 minutes about whatever subject interests them. Explain that one or two will be disruptive to varying degrees and they should try to handle the disruption. Explain you will give them a few minutes to get their thoughts together and you are going to brief and prepare the rest of the class. For the first volunteer’s presentation, set up low-level disruption. Perhaps passive withdrawal, or at the most, hostile withdrawal. Choose one or two participants to be the disrupters. Explain to them that they are not to be the “participant from hell.” Tell them to be fairly cooperative with the presenter as they try to handle the situation. Continue with as many rounds you have time for or for as long as learning is taking place. Escalate the level of disruption for future rounds. Possibly base this on your assessment of the skill level of the volunteer.
09 classroom management
Performance Objectives <ul><li>Identify the primary methods of preventing disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Describe 3 categories of student disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Describe 3 major effects disruption has on the instructor </li></ul><ul><li>Identify 5 options for instructor response </li></ul>At the end of this session, you will be able to...
How Can Trainers/Facilitators Prevent Disruption?
Prevention of Disruption: Application of Adult Learning Theory <ul><li>If we expect adults to act like adults, we cannot treat them as children </li></ul><ul><li>Even when adults act like children, we must respond to them as adults </li></ul><ul><li>Two possible causes of disruption: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tone of the training program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demeanor of the instructor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to practice adult learning theory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to listen actively </li></ul></ul></ul>
Prevention Before the Event <ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All materials present and ready </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All equipment set up and working </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual aids relevant, readable and supportive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructor thoroughly familiar with the material and prepared to facilitate </li></ul></ul>
More About Preparation Because Preparation is Very Important!!! <ul><ul><li>Assure materials are pertinent and needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know your group. </li></ul></ul>
How to Make Participants Angry <ul><li>Offend their values </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Criticize widely held values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use slang, explicatives, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reduce their freedom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group separately from friends after already seated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t allow breaks </li></ul></ul>No Training
More Suggestions to Make ‘em Mad <ul><li>Violate expectations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start late and keep them overtime </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for their input and expectations, and then ignore them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t have coffee available </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tell them they are wrong </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing will kill participation quicker </li></ul></ul>
Prevention in the Classroom <ul><li>Personalize the session </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for their input and act on it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appoint participant leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personalize your presence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-share </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospect relationships and ally relationships </li></ul></ul>
Prevention in the Classroom cont. <ul><li>Purge anger </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sympathetic statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humorous statement </li></ul></ul>
Prevention in the Classroom cont. <ul><li>Bridge building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On break </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Table it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rewards </li></ul>Food Time Tokens of attendance
Categories of Disruption <ul><li>Withdrawal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggressive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Diversion </li></ul><ul><li>Attack </li></ul><ul><li>What effect would these have on the trainer? </li></ul>
Facilitator Needs/ Effects of Disruption <ul><li>Effective </li></ul><ul><li>In control </li></ul><ul><li>Liked </li></ul><ul><li>Withdrawal: </li></ul><ul><li>Diversion: </li></ul><ul><li>Attack: </li></ul>Trainer Needs: to be... Disruption “self-talk” Impact of Negative Self-Talk <ul><li>Increased nervousness/self-consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced self-confidence/concentration </li></ul><ul><li>Decreased effectiveness </li></ul>“ I’m not effective” “ I’m not in control” “ They don’t like me” <ul><li>Depression </li></ul>
Physics Applied to Classroom Dynamics “ For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The more pressure I exert on disrupters, the more they resist
Options for Responding to Disruption <ul><li>Avoidance </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Adamancy (standing fast) </li></ul><ul><li>Counter-attack (pushing back) </li></ul>Risk Low High
Working with Challenging Participants Exercise Instructions <ul><li>Participants: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn over the cards and read your role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss in your roles: If you were going to a desert island, what are the three items that your group would need to take? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Observers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>decide which participant is playing each role </li></ul></ul>
Working With Challenging Participants <ul><li>Dominator </li></ul><ul><li>Blocker </li></ul><ul><li>Information Seeker </li></ul><ul><li>Gatekeeper </li></ul><ul><li>Encourager </li></ul><ul><li>Information Giver </li></ul><ul><li>Summarizer </li></ul>
Summary <ul><li>Pre-class and during class prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Categories of student disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Major effects disruption has on the instructor </li></ul><ul><li>Options for instructor response </li></ul>We discussed...
Application <ul><li>Volunteers who will give a very informal talk (hobbies, family, vacation, etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>One or two participants will be assigned to discreetly disrupt the class. </li></ul><ul><li>You will apply proper classroom management techniques. </li></ul><ul><li>HAVE FUN WHILE LEARNING! </li></ul>
Application It’s after lunch and no one in the group is talking. What do you do?
Application Someone’s pet topic came up and the group has lost sight of the topic being discussed.
Application You check your equipment just before a session and discover the projector is not working?
Application You summarize a discussion and the group refuses to accept your conclusion.
Application A participant is in error in what he/she says, but other group members--out of respect—refuse to correct or disagree.
Application Participants start a side conversation.
Application Two participants argue heatedly with one another.