Handling Challenging Types Of Online Students
Handling challenging students is always difficult, especially when you are a teacher with a big class and everyone requires your attention. This task becomes even harder in the current situation when everyone is bound to learn online.
That being said, there are certain ways you can handle challenging students effectively and make sure that everyone receives the attention they require. Hence, here are the four ways how to handle the most challenging types of online students.
Which Students Are "Challenging" and How Is Online Learning Different from Offline?
The first thing you should do is understand who can be categorized as a challenging student and how teaching online is different from teaching offline. Some students quickly become bored or have short attention spans while others are the opposite of that and instead act out in an attempt to impress teachers or peers.
Whatever the reason for bad behavior is, it doesn't automatically mean that the kid is bad - they just might not know better. After all, they are just a child. Your responsibility as a teacher is to be able to deal with such behavior.
Another thing to consider is the difference between online and offline learning. With online teaching, the same problems apply that you may encounter when teaching offline. However, there is a variety of additional issues that could hinder the progress of your students' learning journeys.
Two of the biggest challenges of offline learning and teaching are technical issues and distractions. Both students and teachers can encounter connection problems or lack of knowledge about using a particular program. In addition to that, students will often be at home during online lessons which means there will be numerous distractions around them.
The best thing to do is be prepared to deal with both situations. Educate yourself on what to do with technical problems and then educate your students about it. Make sure that the student eliminates any possible distractions (turns off other devices, asks family members not to distract them) and try to actively resolve other distractions that arise during the lessons.
Types of Challenging Online Students
Before getting into the different techniques you can use to deal with challenging online students, you should first learn about the different types of such students. There are four main types of challenging online students you can encounter:
- On-the-Go Learner:
This student often tries to do classes while being on-the-go. In such cases, parents are either unaware of such a habit of their child or even somewhat encourage it by letting them have classes while doing other tasks (e.g. the parent takes them to the grocery store and tells the child to take the class in the car). Most of the time, you as a teacher will need to follow the school's rules that requires that both you and the student have a noise-free background during the class. Ask the student and their parents to follow these rules and ensure that the student is in an appropriate environment during classes.
This student will disappear from the view of the camera and then reappear spontaneously. When younger students do this, it is usually a way for them to play around. But when the students are middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, or even adults, they could be either trying to mess around and not learn or they actually have important tasks they are trying to do at the same time as they learn. In any case, you need to treat the situation responsibly and explain why disappearing isn't the best tactic for them if they want to be a good student.
- Two-for-One Student:
This student often comes to class accompanied by a family member (or maybe even a pet). Some parents insist on attending classes with their child to see how the lesson is conducted while others may be going about their business in the background. In both cases, the parent can be a distraction just as much as a pet the student brings to class. In such situations, you need to find an individual approach. Some parents tend to get bored and leave while others need to hear a direct request from the teacher to let their child attend online classes on their own. And when it comes to pets, it's simply against the rules most of the time.
This student is the one getting distracted by the webcam itself just because they are so excited to use it. They may be setting it up for a long time or covering and uncovering it repeatedly. Most of such students are very young, so you need to make sure to keep their attention on you and ask them to let the camera go.
- Technologically Distracting Student:
This student is similar to the cameraman, but they also keep using other features of technology available to them. They love texting emojis to the chat and sending GIFs. On the other hand, there could be a student who isn't good with technology at all which leads them to have to deal with regular technical issues. For the technologically distracting student, try to approach them politely at first, but if that doesn't work, take advantage of your platform. Hide their messages from the chat and turn off their camera. When they don't get the attention they are looking for from other students, they will likely calm down. For the students struggling with technology, make sure to explain everything to them and ask a parent to help out if nothing else works out.
Along with the different techniques listed above for each student specifically, there are also some general tips to use with challenging online students:
- Don't Take It Personally:
Remember that these students are not trying to make you angry just because they hate you. Of course, some of them may be angry at you for giving them a low grade or don't like the subject you are teaching, but these are still kids while you are an adult. Moreover, you are a teacher, so you need to treat them all appropriately. .
- Always Stay Calm and Polite:
Speaking of the way you treat your students, it's very important that you always stay calm and polite. Once again, you are a teacher which means you are supposed to be a very reasonable and patient person. Teaching children is never an easy task, especially when they are challenging online students. .
- Don't Treat Them As "Bad":
Always give your students the benefit of the doubt. Sure, they behave very badly, but does that mean that they are actually "bad"? They are still children and they are still learning how they should behave in a social environment to be taken seriously by those around them. .
- Direct Their Behavior:
Lastly, try to direct their behavior in a way you want it to go. Instead of just telling them what to do, try to understand why they behave the way they behave. This will help you choose the right words and actions to make them behave the way you want them to. .
To sum up, working with challenging students is possible if you know what you are doing. Make sure that you follow the tips in this article and adjust your tactics and strategy to deal with the most challenging types of online students.
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