Health & Safety Institute Blog

April 26, 2012

Oh, Behave! part 2

Last week, we started talking about student behavior and by your responses to the post, it sounds like many of you have experienced these behaviors in some of your students. Let’s dive back into the information pulled from the California Nurses Association and look at another set of behaviors that are often present in the classes we teach.

Student Behavior 

The Know-it-All – For those Harry Potter fans, Hermione Granger probably comes to mind. Know-it-All students seem to know just about everything about just about everything. Whenever questions are asked, they have the answers.  It’s not uncommon for them to toss out their qualifications or credentials as they are making their point and after a while, other students start to roll their eyes whenever the Know-it-All students speak. Be sure to acknowledge comments made that add value to the discussion, but don’t allow Know-it-All students to take over discussions. Allow them to express their thoughts and then move on. These students like the spotlight and may require some individual attention during breaks.

The Griper – Gripers often make valid points, but they are looking for immediate resolution and when that doesn’t happen, they tend to continue to press their points. To be able to move on, be sure to validate the appropriate point and let them know that while the point may not be able to be resolved during class due to the time pressures of staying on track, further discussion can happen during a break or after class.

The Introvert – Students who are Introverted may be hesitant to get involved in discussions and may be among the last to jump into skills. Group practice sessions can also be uncomfortable for introverted students. It’s important to find ways to engage these students, which may be as simple as making eye contact with them, asking questions that they likely know the answers to, and providing lots of positive reinforcement. And while we should do what we can to protect students who are introverted, we still need to assure they remain active participants in training, so they leave the course with the confidence to put their skills to use.

The Extrovert – Students who are extroverted are generally more outgoing and at ease in group settings, so they tend to be more active participants during training. Unfortunately, “active” isn’t always a good thing if they routinely carry on side conversations with other students. Try to avoid embarrassing them if possible, but by making eye contact and asking their opinion on a topic may be all that is needed to refocus their attention back to the course. Another effective technique is to slowly walk over to where the side conversation is taking place and ask a question of another student in that area of the classroom. As real estate agents often say, “Location, location, location”, and our presence near the talkative students normally ends the side conversation. Silence is an amazing deterrent to students who want to chat. Side conversations tend to end quickly when the “talkers” realize they are the only ones doing any talking. If all else fails, it may be a good time to take a break and have a private conversation with the students chatting each other up.

The behaviors we’ve looked at in these last two posts are by no means all-inclusive, and if we’re lucky, our students will rarely exhibit any of these behaviors. However, when faced with one of these challenging interactions, we can deal with it and move on.

Jeff Myers, VPAnd as a reminder, be sure to take a few minutes to share your suggestions about how you’ve worked with Know-it-Alls, Gripers, Introverts and Extraverts during training with your fellow instructors by using the Click here to write comments button below.

Jeff Myers, Vice President – HSI

Source: California Nurses Association, AIDS Train the Trainer Program for Health Care Providers (1988)



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