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.