The Resistant Student

Ouch! Nothing is worse than a student or multiple students that don’t want to be in your class. The truth is you cannot cater your class to the resistant student. This “trap of conversional obsession” is a rabbit hole no one benefits from.

So what can you do? First, try to recognize the possible reasons for this resistance. Some common reasons are: fear of change, poor self image, fear of looking foolish, fear of unknown, conflicting personalities, conflicting learning styles, cultural conflict, unclear instructions, unclear purpose, thinks the topic is irrelevant. The list goes on.

While we cannot cater to the minority, or get trapped obsessing over converting them… there are some things we can do. If you reflect on these elements listed above you might already start to see the ways you can shift the resistant student. Ask yourself relevant questions such as:

  • Are my learning objectives clear?
  • Do my activities match my learning objectives?
  • Do the students know how to be successful?
  • Do I use a multiple of learning techniques?
  • Are my instructions clear?
  • Am I going at a good pace?
  • Am I scaffolding learning?
  • Am I getting to know my students (background, needs etc)?
  • Can I involve my students in some planning?
  • Can I model successful behaviour and work?
  • Am I using incremental assessment?
  • Am I helping students succeed?


Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The skillful teacher (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. 

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