Working with Challenging Students
Most all teachers have had the experience of being the one who made a difference in the life of a student–and every student deserves to have such an adult in their lives.
There is no single intervention or trick to magically change a challenging student into a self-regulating and motivated participant. What does work is creating settings in which students are known, explicitly prompted and supported and praised, and given the academic and social tools to thrive. The experience of working with challenging students as they learn to thrive is one of the richest rewards of working in schools. Let’s get that experience more often.
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When we talk about the need for student cooperation, we usually mean we want them to obey us; i.e. the standard for cooperation is doing what they are told. If we want students to truly cooperate, co-operate, they need to know the operating manual of the class. They need to know what they can do, and […]
With so much to teach, there is constant pressure to move on to the next thing, the next lesson. Here I discuss the value of pausing to ‘dig in’ with a student, and bring their learning to a new level.
Here’s something different: a two-minute video on my realization that I need to be passionate about what I am teaching, versus only doing what I am told to do by a textbook in my hands. By the way, the opening music is from one of my bands.
What if we used the time usually spent punishing students to instead talk with them and makes plans in ways that help them succeed?
Let’s agree that we are not pouring money into public education without wanting a return for our investment. We need our kids to grow up to pay taxes, enough taxes to pay the government back for their schooling, or what’s the point?
There is never one thing that defines a challenging student, never one cause, never one life event, never one disability. If it were one thing, the solutions would be simple. One of my own teachers confronted me with this important and demanding advice: “Keep the complexity as long as you can.”
I am old enough to have been there at the beginning of special education, and fortunately, I completely missed the euphemism of “special.” I knew schools were filled with students who were disengaged, abused, overwhelmed, scared, with quirky learning difficulties that would not go away simply by avoiding the required reading and writing and math curricula.
It’s been years since the publication of “100 Repetitions”—and the need to understand this crucial understanding of how kids learn has never been more necessary.
After years of helping schools hang in with challenging students, it was time to clarify when to stop hanging in.
Originally titled “Praising and Loving Students,’ this ASCD on-line article asks all of us to recognize and support every student as a member of the community for doing no more than crossing the threshold into the school and the classroom
Connect with Jeffrey Benson
Want to learn more about how Jeffrey can support your school or organization? Schedule at time to meet with Jeffrey to learn more about customized workshops and other services.