Two days ago I started this 3-part series by defining categories of difficult students. As I said in that piece, my classrooms rarely have any challenging students; my secret is stopping the behavior before it starts.
Another way to think about it is
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” — Benjamin Franklin
Adult students rarely (if ever) have a goal of being the most difficult in class. They become challenging as they start exhibiting certain behaviors, often unconsciously in response to a variety of circumstances. Classroom management for adults doesn’t have to be a challenge; by creating an environment from the beginning where those behaviors are not tolerated, they just don’t appear as often.
Adult educators have a unique challenge in working with their students. In some cases they have forgotten how to learn and in other scenarios they have forgotten how to behave! But one rotten apple doesn’t need to ruin the whole bunch.
Image via Flickr by Michael Bentley
In my class, How to Teach It, one of the most common questions I get is how to deal with difficult students. For most of us, difficult students are not common, but their rarity makes them much more challenging as we are often caught unprepared, without a plan of action. In this 3-part series we will look at categories of challenging students, “defensive” techniques to minimize occurrences and suggestions for managing them when they inevitably do show up in class.