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  1. #1
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    Default Difficult Student

    How can I teach a young student that doesn't want to learn?

    She's 13 years old, going into 7th grade, but tested as 5th grade level in English. She doesn't care that she's behind and says that she doesn't want to be smart because kids will make fun of her. It sickens me that our society (I think this is probably a global issue) is one in which stupidity is the norm.

    This student doesn't try in class. The tutoring center that I work at uses booklets that each have 4 lessons. The book is meant to take about an hour to complete. 2 lessons are meant to be completed during the half hour spent at the center, the other 2 at home. The girl in question barely gets through a single lesson on most sessions at our center;whatever she doesn't finish becomes her homework.

    She slouches, lays on her desk, leans against the wall and looks like she has never done anything more boring than come to our center. She is wasting her mother's money and her own time. She is also pissing me off. Maybe it's a sign of being an inexperienced teacher that I care, but I do care. I want this girl to learn and I want her grades to improve. She's not stupid, she could do fine if she tried, but she doesn't want to. Is there any way to get her interested? My options are fairly limited, as I work for a company that wants things done their way--which means using their workbooks and almost nothing else, but if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. What's the current recommendation on this topic? What can be done?

    From a behavioral psych perspective, I don't care if she likes her tutoring or the subject, I just want her to do the work. If I can get her to do the work, she will learn whether she wants to or not. I found out today that on top of not trying very hard, she doesn't even bother to read the informational pages in our booklets that teach the concepts that she needs to learn.

    I could go on for hours about this girl, but I think I'll stop here and listen to the wisdom of some of you experienced folks.

    So what do you say, what can I do?

  2. #2
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Difficult Student

    IMHO you need to talk to her parents and come up with a plan for this girl. If she is at a 5th grade English level, then she has the skills to get all the information she needs. She just is not interested in working any harder.

    You are hindered by having to use just the booklets from your company.

    She may need some other kind of tutoring/counseling program.

    Good for you that you see she needs something else.

    PS: she's wrong - beauty WITH brains is "in."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Difficult Student

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    IMHO you need to talk to her parents and come up with a plan for this girl. If she is at a 5th grade English level, then she has the skills to get all the information she needs. She just is not interested in working any harder.

    You are hindered by having to use just the booklets from your company.

    She may need some other kind of tutoring/counseling program.

    Good for you that you see she needs something else.

    PS: she's wrong - beauty WITH brains is "in."
    Honestly, I think that the booklet program is horrible. One system can't work for EVERYONE; but I guess that's what happens when education becomes a business...

    I think this girl does need different tutoring. I also think that unless her attitude changes, there's nothing I can do to make her learn. If she doesn't want to learn, how can I teach her? That question is meant to be rhetorical, but if anyone can actually tell me how I can teach her, I'm all for it.

    We kind of have a plan--inasmuch as it's possible with the company's system. She wasn't doing her homework at all before, now I am telling her mom what she needs to do after every class. This hasn't been going on for too long, but she seems to be doing her work now--more or less. Her mom speaks Spanish mostly. Her English is OK, but I don't think she could keep up with a serious discussion. The girl's sister could translate for us, but I don't want to create any problems between the girl and her sister by making it seem like her sister is against her. What do you mean by plan though, I'm not sure that I understand what kind of plan you're talking about. I think that part of the problem is that her mom is too permissive. When we talked to her about her daughter's situation, she seemed to have a "poor baby" attitude, rather than being upset or bothered by it. As if her daughter is a victim or can't control her behavior.

    As for beauty and brains being in--that may be true in the adult world, but I think that for this girl, if she's smart, she's a nerd, and that's a bad thing. Her sister is smart and a good student, and this girl has told me more than once that her sister is a nerd and she doesn't want to be one. I wish her parents would give me her sister instead of her--heh.

    Honestly, it all comes down to how supremely messed up our society is. I'd love to tear it apart and remake it with well raised children that have proper values (and I am not talking about anything religious here). We need kids that are raised to be proactive and to value intelligence; not the sagging, drooping, complacent creatures we have now. I feel so old when I say things like that. Back when I was a boy... uh... things were just as messed up.
    Last edited by EssKay; 15-Jul-2009 at 06:35.

  4. #4
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Difficult Student

    Ah ha - following in the footsteps of a "super sister" who is smart and pretty. So how to get attention? Be the opposite!! Bad girl, bad grades. Common story.

    Family needs therapy. Help find a bi-lingual therapist and encourage the family to help this girl find herself.

  5. #5
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Difficult Student

    A quote by Bill Gates (who says he was always called a nerd) comes to my mind..........."Be nice to a nerd, you will probably end up working for one."

    Best of luck, but I have no ideas.

  6. #6
    Malibozgül is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Difficult Student

    in my opinion ıt is a good way to encourage this girl.but whatever you do,first off all, the student should be eager to learn something new.anyway as a teacher we all should make our students encouraged..if we provide them to win /have self confidence ,we may succeed in our duty.ı hope you may reach your aim.Take it easy.

  7. #7
    Lorettenico is offline Newbie
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    Post Re: Difficult Student

    Hi there. I think your approach to her attitude is somewhat in the wrong direction. I have found that learners that are behind the others in their group or class, tend to have the wrong attitude towards their learning. It is sometimes easier for learners to just avoid learning then to admit that they do not understand something or that they are behind in class. Therefore you need to try and study her behaviour, see what interests her and what not. Try to make your activities more attractive. Please understand that I am not saying that you are at fault. It is also not easy for a learner to be tutored by a stranger, she really needs to be at ease. Create extended opportunities for her to try and catch up and get her parents to join in. From what you have said about this learner I can gather that you really don't like her. This might also count against you, as soon as learners see you as a threat they will refuse to co-operate. Therefore I would say that you need to give her more praise when she does something good, this will serve as a good motivation. Speak to the student after class and be sensitive and approachable. I will say you have your work cut out but It worked with one of my students. The key is to never give up because as soon as you do, so do they.

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