How to deal with difficult students, by Rick Reis

How to Deal with Difficult Students


–       Never attack the student. Model how to deal respectfully with those who act disrespectfully. After all, just because this one student questioned a new activity, or said something homophobic, doesn’t mean that other students didn’t have the same thoughts. By addressing this person courteously you show that the class is (still) a safe place for everyone to learn. It also demonstrates your confidence.

–       Listen and validate. Listen to the student with your whole body. Don’t roll your eyes or cross your arms. Let the person say his or her piece (within reason) and, if possible, validate the concern: “It sounds like you’re frustrated with the pace of class. I’m definitely feeling tired after ninety minutes of class tonight. Is anyone else feeling tired?”


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