The best way to help reluctant learners is to show them that you care

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Even a student-centered, Results Only Learning Environment has reluctant learners. In most cases, they are reluctant because they have been exposed to so many years of traditional teaching, which has made them believe school is boring and learning is not fun or necessary.

via eHow.com

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

Spare the rod

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, a euphemism for detention center.

My justification for using the SMR as a disciplinary tool was that reluctant learners were distracting the rest of my students 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.

I have found that when you show reluctant learners that you care, learning follows. What is  your experience with reluctant learners?

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Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 115,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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