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How to handle difficult students?
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some waygook
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 3:42 am    Post subject: How to handle difficult students? Reply with quote

HI. I tried to post this on the old forum. So far it hasn't shown up.
I will try and make this one shorter.
I've been here 5 months, my second stint in Korea. I am not good with kids and I'm the first to admit that, but I am getting better.
I thought I was finally getting the hang of teaching kids, and I was actually starting to enjoy some of the classes, that was until Monday.
I blew up at a student for refusing to read a short conversation. Mad
It was very simple stuff, and I know she was more than able to do it.
Everyone else in the class had at least given it a try, but she stubbornly refused.
Anyway, my question is , How would you deal with this kind of situation?
I know that getting angry is not a good approach. There are much better ways of dealing with kids like that. In hindsight I was thinking that I could have tried some humor to ease the situation, but I'm not sure it would have worked.

I've had all kinds of trouble with this class, they refuse to do much of anything that might involve interaction with me. They expect me to just write out the answers on the board and then they copy them.
If I ask any questions, I just get blank stares. If I persist with questions, I start to get rude comments directed at me in Korean. Confused

Anyway, I love this new forum.
Have a great day.
Some waygook
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 3:52 am    Post subject: Re: How to handle difficult students? Reply with quote

some waygook wrote:
I blew up at a student for refusing to read a short conversation. Mad
It was very simple stuff, and I know she was more than able to do it.
Everyone else in the class had at least given it a try, but she stubbornly refused.
Anyway, my question is , How would you deal with this kind of situation?


Ignore it. Don't push the students. they are there because mommy and daddy are sending them. If they don't want to do it, move on to the next student. If you push that hard you will turn the entire class against you. The same goes for university classes - don't push hard. firm but flexible... choose another student.

try different activities... talk to teachers in your school about things that worked for them in the past.

I used to work for childrens hogwans but will never again. Move on get a university job or change countries it will be better for your mental health.
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some waygook
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 4:09 am    Post subject: thanks Reply with quote

I don't usually try and push the students too much. But this class seems to be able to get under my skin somehow. Anyway, I apologized to the student today. Embarassed
I just wish I could get them to put a little effort into learning.

There are only 2 foreign teachers here. The other guy just started. The Korean teachers are not very helpful at all.

I was teaching adults last year, yes, much easier on the nerves.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.
Some waygook
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Tancred



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Upon a mountain in unknown Kadath

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to have the same dilemna, Waygook. I used to actually want to "teach" my students, even though I too, am quite inept when dealing with children. I used to hate the blank stares...the awkwardness...and the dreaded "Boiya?"....

So now i just play games with them, have fun, and if a child seems like they want to learn more, i'll take the time to explain something to them, if they don't, i couldn't care less. It's their life and part of me feels sorry for them for having to endure so many classes in their childhood.

So my advice would be to lighten things up...just have fun...you're only here for a year...

My two pennies..
T

p.s. Great new board, Dave.... Wink
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weatherman



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: let it go..... Reply with quote

That is too bad you had to yell. I know some students can be frustrating, and seem like the biggest dunces around, but let the whole thing go. I learnt this hard way. Teaching English in Korea is a weird balancing act. Setting a good mood is the most important thing, for you can be a lousy teacher, but if the mood is good, I find 99 out of 100 students don't really care. And it is funny how personal appearance will affect mood too, which reminds me I need more gym time. Don't yell, let it go, have a beer. Smile
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william beckerson
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please try to remember that you're not here to teach. You're here to be foreign and to help reassure the moms that they sent their kid to the right school. If the kid doesnt care, forget about them. I only get angry at them now when they openly insult me. There are kids in the school who do want to learn, pay attention to them.

It's a sad thing, but as a teacher, regardless of what the situation is, it's your fault. Dont let it get you worked up. Just let it wash over you and if you get fired, give Korea the finger on your way to Japan
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stalinsdad



Joined: 25 Jan 2003
Location: Jeonju

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would shout louder, make an example, get 1 bunny hopping around the room and keep plugging away. Don't be like so many way, and run the white flag up. Those people are weak, non-professional types, who only care about money! Some of us here actually want to teach and change peoples/students thoughts and give them some hope. Rolling Eyes
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chronicpride



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand where the original poster is coming from.

My methods are:

Remembering that we are more of a product than a teacher over here, and not to take classroom disobedience, too seriously.

Establishment of social boundaries. Being able to show what happens when someone crosses the line and only emitting that type of disciplinary behavior when the line is crossed. Unlike some teachers that I know who shout and yell and throw kids out of class with inconsistencies.

Win their attention by not being a serious teacher and trying to force mechanical drills down their throats. I'm not saying 45 minutes of Hangman, but a creative ability to teach in 'like-terms' is a must. Remember who your audience is.

Development of the 'look'. Over time and refinement, you must have a 'look' that carries more meaning than words, when someone misbehaves.

Worst-case scenario tactics, inform the rest of the class that there will be no game or reward at the end of the class, if the shit-disturber persists with his act. In the right class, the kids will turn and he will be isolated from the group that he's trying to win attention from.

Making them stand outside of the class or in the school lobby with their hands stretched up in the air for 5 minutes. Anyone walking by (teacher, director, student, receptionist) will take note of this and he'll begin to remember what it's like to wear the 'Scarlet Letter'.

And lastly, if you have the director, secretaries, and/or Korean teachers on your side, take down the kid's name in front of the class, inform him in front of the class that the school is going to call his mother, and leave the room and go get whoever is in your favor to make the call and watch them do it, to ensure that it was done and then come back to class. If you don't have the interest or commitment to win the director, Korean teachers, or secretaries onto your side to force the issue, then all you can do is scream at the kids and continue with the vicious circle.
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another old hand vet



Joined: 23 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2003 9:54 pm    Post subject: back to the topic of dealing with difficult students Reply with quote

Try affection. I've found giving the children hugs or showing you care about them goes a long way towards solving disiplinary problems in class.
Remember, Korea is not like the "West"; you can (and should) hug them, give them pats on the back and show you care about them as individuals. Of course this is a long term solution, not a quick fix.
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dutchman



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: My backyard

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found when teaching kids classes that incentive and group pressure work best. First you have to find an arsenal of 4 or 5 games that the kids really love to play. Then draw a "Game Box" on the board and make 3-5 lines in it (depending on the class size). Tell the students that you will play a game for the last 15-20 minutes of the class IF there is at least one line in the box. Everytime a student doesn't do what you want or is too loud etc. erase a line from the box. The students put pressure on eachother to behave well. It makes the class time much more efficient and productive. I can get my students to open there books and take out a pencil simply by counting down from five, same thing with answering or reading. If they refuse, I countdown from five, erase a line and move to the next student. Never get angry. They seem to enjoy that and you give them power.
I teach at a university now. Unfortunately, the system doesn't work as well with this age group. Wink
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Ody1966
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: back to the topic of dealing with difficult students Reply with quote

another old hand vet wrote:
Try affection. I've found giving the children hugs or showing you care about them goes a long way towards solving disiplinary problems in class.
Remember, Korea is not like the "West"; you can (and should) hug them, give them pats on the back and show you care about them as individuals. Of course this is a long term solution, not a quick fix.


I TOTALLY AGREE...
' tried shaming them which works on most but makes me feels crappy.
Also, sometimes there just is no solution. Last session I learned the hard way that you have to protect the interests of the other kid's by following discipline protocols as soon as an impossible student is identified; otherwise the problem can snowball and destroy the entire class!
Finally, as with adults, flattery goes a long way. I am much more successful when my kids think that I believe they are the best, which (of course) they all have the potential to be.
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william beckerson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bribes.

A sticker goes to the best student of the day. Trust me, you can have a Korean kid eat a kitten if the think they'll get a sticker the other kids wont
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Guy Incognito
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew to hate kids so much I quit my job and went home. I'm thinking of going back if I can get a job teaching adults
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william beckerson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck, you'll need it if you want to get an adult teaching job.
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The Bobster



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2003 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot of good suggestions here so far ... think maybe I'll clipboard a few and try them out myself.

One really good bit of advice another teacher told me : always PRETEND to be angry a few minutes before the point where you actually would get angry. The reasons were obvious once I thought about it - when I'm angry, I have lost control not only of the class but also of myself as well, and there's no way in Nebraska I can possibly control a room full of kids if I can't control myself first and foremost.

I don't like to be a strict disciplinarian, but a lot can be avoided if I give the impression that I am. The first 20 minutes after you initially meet a new class are key - that's the best time to be the nazi uberfuhrer. From then on, you can lighten up and they assume that every smile and every pat on the head and every game you play with them is because THEY have earned it by doing something that makes you happy.

Once I did have a class of kids old enough and articulate to understand a little speech on the first day. "I'm not your friend, but that doesn't mean I don't like you. I do like you. Sometimes I'm going to ask you to do things you don't want to do, and sometimes they will be hard to do, BUT I know you can do it. Maybe you don't think you can't do it, but I know you can."

When I look back on the handful of teachers who were important for me, that's what they were about, really. The ones who made a difference gave me something very hard to do that I really didn't think was inside me, but they could see that it was ... and they were right and I was wrong. A very wonderful thing to discover, that the scope of your abilities far exceeds your comprehension of them.
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