September 25, 2011

Dealing with reluctant learners

Even a Results Only Learning Environment has reluctant learners. In most cases, they are reluctant because of the many years of traditional teaching that have made them believe school is boring and learning is not fun or necessary.

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Often, reluctant learners are resistant to even the freedom and engagement that at ROLE offers. The best way to engage these students is to interact with them often and work on building rapport.

Teachers have to fight the immediate urge to discipline reluctant learners, who may also appear disruptive. They socialize more, leave their seats and resist completing class activities. I used to send these students to our Student Management Room, which is nothing short of a detention center.

My justification for using the SMR as a disciplinary tool was that reluctant learners were distracting the rest of the classes from completing activities.

Now, as a results-only teacher, I realize that anytime a student is not in my classroom, she is losing an opportunity to develop a thirst for learning. Overcoming the years of conditioning that reluctant learners have received from traditional teachers is challenging.

The best way to "turn these kids around" is constant rapport-building. Reluctant learners do not readily view teachers as their friends. More likely they see teachers as authority figures, who only desire to control students.

Be sure to watch for the next post on specific examples of how to build rapport with reluctant learners in a results-only classroom.