Dominant Student

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Dominant Student

Unread postby Vivienne » 04 Sep 2012, 12:31

I have a very eager, extroverted and dominant student. This is great, but he has a bad habit of asking questions which are off topic and they often need an entire lesson to cover them properly. Is it acceptable for me to tell him that I will come back to him after class or promise to prepare a lesson on the subject he wants to discuss? I do always try to briefly attend to his questions, but that often leads to more questions and the next thing you know 45 minutes have passed. I find it quite disruptive and the other students lose focus. A couple of the other students have complained about him. I should probably have a private chat with him after class, but I don't want to say anything that will dampen his enthusiasm. If I don't deal with it now, though, I'll soon lose my temper because it's quite irritating. He also likes to argue and is always comparing American English to British English and often blurts out the difference in pronunciation. He also uses a lot of slang, which the other students don't always understand and it has to be explained. I speak Standard English with Received Pronunciation. He thinks my accent is strange and sometimes laughs at me. He's used to hearing American accents, I suppose.

He's on the right level, according to the results of his placement test.
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Re: Dominant Student

Unread postby Lucy » 05 Sep 2012, 17:17

Hi Vivienne,

This is a difficult situation. I can see you want to do your best and answer your student’s questions but it can be irritating when one student just asks too many questions.

As a teacher, you need to try and keep a balance in the time given to all students. Some of them may be quiet and not ask questions but they still deserve your time and attention. Try to avoid spending 45 minutes on the issues raised by this student. I presume you have a syllabus to get through which means you cannot give so much time to something that isn’t on the syllabus.

You don’t have to get into lengthy explanations with this student; it’s enough to say that there is other work to be done and there is no time to give to the answers he needs. You can always refer him to a grammar book, pronunciation manual or a web page to help him find the answers.

If he is persistent in class, you can also deal with this through simple body language techniques. Stand near him when you are addressing the class; make eye contact with him. Very often this type of student needs attention; by standing near him and looking at him, you give him attention and it may be enough. If he interrupts too much, stand near him and give some sort of sign with your hand that you wish to continue speaking. Do this with a smile on your face.

You shouldn’t re-design your lessons with one student in mind. The only time you should be giving in to him is if all the class (or the majority) need to learn the issue in question. You need to consider how much time is available to get everything done; the interests and needs of the majority of your students.

If it continues, take him to one side for a talk.
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