Tips from TSE: Manage your difficult learners

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 25, 2008

When it comes to dealing with challenging students, the last thing an educator should do is ignore or avoid disruptive learners, says Mitzi Grey, MEd, RN, BC, president of Grey & Company, Inc., a healthcare education and consulting firm in Mocksville, NC.

"You have to adjust the learning environment," says Grey. Keep the following strategies in mind for dealing with these specific categories of challenging students:

  • The visitor. If you hear constant chatter during one of your classes, you have this type of disruptive learner on your hands. A visitor who is chatting away should be taken aside and told that talking during classes is unacceptable behavior. But remember the golden rule of praising in public and criticizing in private.
  • The self-doubter. These learners may seem disinterested, but they're not. They just lack the confidence to participate. To encourage participation, try to draw out what learners know by having them complete hands-on exercises; by applauding their success, you can begin to build their confidence and increase their desire to participate, Grey says.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the September issue of The Staff Educator. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to The Staff Educator!


1 comments on “Tips from TSE: Manage your difficult learners

Longi (7/13/2012 at 9:07 AM)
Right now in many places the nsriung shortage isn't being felt and due to the poor economy it's harder for new grads without experience to find jobs. Not everywhere, but a lot of places. However the pendulum always swings back. . . there IS an impending nsriung shortage that will be felt everywhere in the decades to come, for several reasons. First, the Baby Boomer generation is hitting retirement age. With such a large population that will soon be experiencing declining health, this will increase demands on all aspects of health care. With this aging population also comes a great number of aging RNs who are retiring, and there are not as many new RNs entering and staying in the profession to balance the numbers of those leaving. Finally, we are, as a society, growing more unhealthy. Obesity is an epidemic, and with that comes increasing rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other huge medically-dependent conditions. Nursing is a profession which is far more stable than many others. You might have a little difficulty getting a job as a new grad, but you are still years away from that and by then the economy will turn around and things will probably be back to where you will have your pick of jobs upon graduation, like it was a few years ago. Good luck.


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