Teaching the Students who Challenge Us Most
Date posted: July 15, 2015
Teaching can be challenging – teaching challenging students can overwhelm the keenest educators. What can be done? Jeffrey Benson uses his varied 30 year experience in education to provide some tips when it comes to helping challenging students.
His book Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us presents real-life stories of challenging students and their unique situations, from the perspectives of both administrators and teachers. The stories offer insight into possible techniques which might aid students who present above-average challenges within the school setting.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“Students have the right to know our goals—all of them. Challenging students, who have experienced adults as unpredictably dangerous creatures roaming their landscapes, have earned the right to be suspicious of us. If these students are to try again, we have to be transparent in our efforts. We have to bridge the distance between us so that they can “connect one mind to another within relationships” (Siegel, 1999, p. 131) and learn. (…) I have always told students what I was really hoping to teach them—“I want you to be strong and self-reliant and have the tools to build a good life. You need power, and here’s where today’s lesson fits in…” No trick questions, no manipulations. (…) Our wisest and most hurt students are watching us daily to see if we are worthy of their trust” (49).
Take a look at the one minute long clip below, for Benson’s enthusiastic perspective on helping challenging students:
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