Working with Difficult Students

Many theories have addressed techniques on how to deal with difficult students. After listening to instructors at the Driving School Association of the Americas (DSAA) Conference this past November, it was clear instructors are seeking more, innovative techniques to address the issue.

Everyone has had that one student that knows it all. Whether the student actually does know it all or doesn’t is not the issue. The fact that the student believes that he or she knows it all, can create a student with an “attitude.” This exercise is a fun, non-confrontational way to make this type of student aware of their need for additional knowledge, which can help make them more receptive to learning.

Classroom Set-up: Arrange students in groups of four to seven, at separate training tables.

Materials: Instructors will need four to five decks of traditional playing cards.

Preparation: Remove the face cards from each deck. Place the face cards from one deck, face down on each individual training table.

Delivery: In a light-hearted manner, inform your students that they have exactly four minutes to fully examine the cards before an assessment is conducted. Once the four minutes has passed, ask the following assessment questions:

  • How many kings have a mustache? (Answer: 3)
  • What is the number of kings that face to the left? (Answer: 1)
  • What is the number of queens that face to the right? (Answer: 2)
  • How many kings carry a battle-axe? (Answer: 1)
  • How many kings wear a beard? (Answer: 4)
  • What do the queens hold in their hands? (Answer: Flower)
  • How many one-eyed jacks are in the deck? (Answer: 2)
  • What color are the jacks’ hats? (Answer: Red)

Follow-up Discussion: People can see something many times, to the point of total familiarity, and still not learn some fairly basic things about it. Today’s task is to find out what we don’t know.

In a fun and interactive manner, you’ve helped make the point: we all have something to learn.

2 replies on “Working with Difficult Students

  • amell evans

    When we take the interest in the student’s needs and detail to the task of getting students prepared for the subject of novice driver’s training is what I have learned is everyone is different and the art of teaching is in the compassion of the subject.
    Butch Evans
    since 1982

  • Alert Al

    I had one student that was Mr. Smarty-Pants. He sat in my chair and I told him he could stay there as long as he taught the class. He found another seat. Then he did it again and said that yeah, he could teach it! The rest of the class was littered with his wise cracks.

    When he got behind the wheel, it was a different story. He was quite timid. His extroverted machismo, it seems, was a cover for his lack of confidence. We pulled up to an intersection with a blind curve to the left, and I instructed him to turn right. He checked, but then pulled out so slowly that a car came from around the blind curve. I stomped on my brake, and the car rolled past. This startled my student more than I knew at the time. After dropping him off, I discovered a wet spot on the driver’s seat! Mr. Smarty-Pants became Mr. Pee-Pee-Pants.

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