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  1. #11
    Esgaleth's Avatar
    Esgaleth is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Any Tips on Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults?

    Congratulations.
    No point in feeling regrets - this age group is truly demanding even with a good rapport. Take my word for it! At times I wish I could skip this class.

  2. #12
    PiggyInClover is offline Newbie
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    Lightbulb Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults

    You're absolutely right, you can't win them all. And yes, adults can be more challenging or just as challenging as children.

    What I have learned from this experience is that it is not a good idea to teach for free. On the surface it sounds like one is being altruistic and doing good, but in fact it imbalances the equation. Quid pro quo.

    Thanks again for your feedback and help. What a great forum!

    Happy teaching.

    Hugs,
    Piggy

  3. #13
    bwkcaj_ca is offline Member
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    Default Re: Any Tips on Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults?

    Based on the information you've provided I suspect the problem is simply that the weaker student resents the fact that her classmate can "do" English better than she can. If so, changing your teaching techniques isn't likely to improve the situation. Since a class of
    two is really a tutoring situation, one approach might be to teach them individually thereby removing the the competitive element.
    Give them each half an hour, alternate weeks etc.

    If that is not possible I can only suggest what I do when I find myself teaching a class of students with significantly diffferent skill levels. Emphasize that learning a language doesn't put you in competition with other sutdents but only with yourself. So it really doesn't matter if someone else can function better that you.

    Finally, I would make it very clear to both students that I am teaching them for free. In return I expect them to display the same kind of respect and courtesy that I give to them. It should be clear to them that they must be cooperative and motivated if they wish the
    class to continue.

  4. #14
    PiggyInClover is offline Newbie
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    Default Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults

    Spot on, bwk. Very wise words. Their different levels was a recurring issue and cause of anxiety for Student B, which she did express on several occasions. She is competitive by nature and hated the fact that Student A was 'better' than her, perhaps not only in terms of language level or learning skills, but also a nicer personality! As she could not blame Student A for that, she transferred her resentment onto me - the 'parent' figure.

    Mixed level classes are never particularly easy and the teacher ends up having to do a juggling act. The subversive part of this case is that Student B tried to spoil it for all of us. I honestly do not think she was all that interested in language learning, either solo or with other students of the same level, or even with another teacher. She said herself she has "no time" for it. And she did not really have a strong personal reason or motive to learn, other than the vague idea that she was 'supposed' to do it. She has now quit, so it's not my problem any more. (Hooray!)

    Many thanks for all your support and suggestions, which I will certainly bear in mind in future. One thing I won't be doing any more is teaching for free!

    Best wishes,
    Piggy

  5. #15
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Any Tips on Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults?

    Quote Originally Posted by PiggyInClover View Post
    Problem solved -- the "difficut" student has just emailed me to say she is quitting.
    Out of curiosity, did you email her back and ask for feedback? Now that she knows she doesn't have to see you again, she might feel able to give her reasons for apparently not enjoying the classes. If you tell her (truly or otherwise) that you're disappointed that she felt the need to quit, then you can ask her why she did so. If you couch it in terms of you trying to improve your teaching skills etc etc, she might actually feel that she can tell you honestly what was going on in her head each class. Of course, you might not get a reply at all and she might lie but if you don't ask, you don't get!

  6. #16
    PiggyInClover is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Any Tips on Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults?

    @ emsr
    Thanks for your interest. The reason she gave in her email was that she would be "too busy" in the next couple of months, with house guests from abroad, plus going away on holiday for a couple of weeks. She said that she felt that her absence would be "too disruptive", and that it would be difficult for her to catch up afterwards.

    Now we both know that this is just an excuse (a lie). If she had really wanted to continue studying but was worried about missing a few hours, she could have (a) suggested changing the day and time to suit her [which I am sure the other student and I would have been open to] (b) asked for extra homework to make up the lessons missed (c) expressed some satisfaction and gratitude at what she thinks she has gained so far. But none of those occurred.

    The irony is that she thinks her absence would be disruptive to her learning, but it was her presence that was more disruptive to the class!

    Her real reason for quitting was stated in another email sent 2 weeks earlier, before she quit. She said she felt the class was way above her level (possibly true). She also said that because the lessons were free, she had imagined just free conversation, and did not expect me to put in so much effort into preparing the lessons, in the way that I did. She said she felt she could not do my lessons "justice" because she was not putting in, and 'could not' put in any study time at home. She was honest enough to say that she did not think that would change for her. She wanted me to take the decision for her - to let her off the hook and say: "yes, it's better that you quit".

    Of course I would never dismiss a student purely on those emotive grounds. I gave her individual feedback and tried to encourage her and support her in her anxieties. I told her that I wanted her to continue learning, and that it would help her if she focused more on the process, less on the goal. And not compare herself to the other "better" student all the time. She quit anyway. So her mind was made up a while ago - she just couldn't admit to 'surrendering'. And in the interim, tried to make it as unpleasant as possible for everyone else.

    Yes, my initial reaction was disappointment, but in conclusion, I'm honestly not that unhappy about her resignation! At the end of the day, it makes my life easier, and the other student's. So big <phew> all round!

    It's not always necessarily a bad thing for a student to withdraw. Sometimes, both (adult) student and teacher have to face the reality that it's just not working for a whole host of reasons. I think it takes some level of maturity to recognise that and to be able to let go. It's not necessarily a teacher's job to persuade an adult student to do something he/she doesn't really want to do. Adult students have to take responsibility for their own learning too.

    Interesting to think about it though. Thanks for your input.

    Happy teaching!

  7. #17
    PiggyInClover is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Any Tips on Managing Difficult Behaviours in Adults?

    Yes, many emails were exchanged over the course of her study about her anxieties.
    The final outcome is that she quit and that's okay.
    Sometimes one just has to let go. It might be best for her too.

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