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How to handle student that being negatively influence by other Student?

I notice few good student, that do good when the other student is not present in class. I observed the changes on his grades and attitudes when he is around with this clown student, he become totally different person. I don't know How to approach this type of situation, because I don't want to be misunderstood by him and the other student too, any help and suggestion are welcome.

Hi Abundio,
I would create learning groups for the class. You can assign this student to a group that does not include the student that influences him negatively. This way he will be surrounded by positive students and his progress in the course will continue.

That happened to me once, and the student failed the class, when he repeats the class the other student wasn’t in the same group, the result he passed with an A. The other student drop and he is doing great in school. I know that is not the same situation in most cases but if you can find a way of separating them and putting that student to work in small groups with others he might see an improvement in his grade and will be motivated to continue the hard work.

Hi Chef Abundio,

Based on the first week of observation, test scores and completition of projects. I move all the students around into new groups that I create in the second week.

This may make me unpopular at this rearrangment, but I sell it as they have sat in the same seats for a week and I want them to met other persons and other ways of seeing this information.

And I assure them that I will move them around again and again each week to see how different areas such as the back of the classroom is different from the front seats. Or those seats near a door verses a seat in the middle of the classroom.

This seems to help with several situations to seperate students for their own well-being and learning. Also for a change of pace I will mix the arrangements to all women at a table and all men and have a mock test of a topic with a candy reward to the first correct answer. Then we go back to mixed gender table arragements. The final week I let the students pick there own seating perferance. I'm still learning...

Chef Abundio
When this happen to me I separate the students
I talk to hiom one on one and explain him the problem he will be runing to

i have the same problem in some of my classes. What i try to do is separeat them from eachother but not stop them from talking to eachother. Then when i do see them clowning around i give them bissy work to do so they have to focse on the taske at hand.

I agree that talking to the student one-on-one (outside of class, of course) is a valid way of handling this problem. As we know, students need to be more self-aware and should be given every opportunity to be involved in their own learning. This student may not have a clue about how pliable and easily influenced by others he/she is, so your classroom may not be the only place where the student is adversely affected by others. Therefore your input may have more far-reaching positive effects on this student's life than you think.

I think we all had the same problem as instructors My sugestion is to talk to the positive student and then with the negative student this way they know where they are standing academicly.

Depending on the age of the students this can be a common situation. One of my students used to turn in her homework during break times so her friends, who were less inclined to do their homework, didn't find out. I pulled her aside and had a talk with her. I praised her work and discussed her career goals, reinforcing the link between the two.

In my College Success class, as it is the first class for most students, and we have a mix of recent high school grads and those who have been out of school awhile, I address the issue head on. I remind them of the investment of time and money they are making, with adult students this is effective. With recent high school students we talk about the different expectations in secondary education.
I agree learning teams
and varying groups can be effective, but I also think it is an issue that should be addressed directly with the student.

Hi Summer,
I agree that instructors need to talk directly with students if there is an issue in terms of their future success. This way you can lay out the situation and them help them work toward positive outcomes. They also will appreciate the individual attention that comes with such a discussion.
It is sad to hear about the student that feels such a high level of peer pressure that she turns her assignments in at break.

I basically discuss with the student causing the problem indvidually and also the student impacted by the problem. I then divide the class in groups and rotate them on a weekly basis. As such, the 2 students are not placed in the same group. I also inform the problem student that I will send him home if he continues to disrupt my class. Since I am a clinical nursing instructor this usually works. For if the student is sent home he misses a day in clinical and needs to make it up. If students has greater than 2 absences he fails the term.
Mariann U

Hi Mariann,
Good approach to handling a management problem. A disruptive student must quickly learn that this behavior will not be tolerated in the class just as it won't be in the work place. By holding firm to your standards and enforcing your policies you are doing a real service to and for your students.

I too have witnessed this phenomenon in several classes that I have taught. For example, I recently had a situation where there were a handful of students that were not satisfied with their technology lab experience.

Several of these students were actually good students that really understood the material. Unfortunately, their observations quickly devolved into complaint sessions, and shortly after that, I noticed that some of the students that were struggling started to chime in, and they began to blame their struggles solely on the school.

In my situation, what I did was grabbed the "ringleader", and I explained to him that while I understood where some of his frustration came from, I needed him to understand the impact that he was having on the entire group.

I was able to get him to see that we both want the same thing, and we came up with some more constructive ways to address his concerns other than rant sessions.

It's true. Your student may want to focus on learning, but his friend is preventing him. While the student would feel like a jerk telling the clown to leave him alone, if you step in as an instructor ... well they have to listen to you. Probably the student who is being distracted will understand that this is for his own good and may even appreciate you doing something that he himself could not.

This approach also sets the pace for the rest of the students. They will follow by example and circumstances. Therefore, by reprimanding the first problem student future occurrences do not happen.
Mariann U

Hi James,
What a great way to turn a class around. By taking "control" of the class and involving the ringleader you were able to keep the class on target. Thank you for sharing your approach with us. Many times instructors are afraid to follow the steps you did and the results are not the best for anyone.

Many people have suggested moving the students around so they are not sitting near each other. Another addition to moving students, is moving desks and tables themselves. It is a good idea to change up the organization of seating every so often.

Sometimes desks can be arranged normally, in rows, facing front. Sometimes you can arrange the desks in a circle or semi-circle. This is better for discussion than lecture. Another option is placing desks in pods of about four. This works well for small group work.

Hi Mariann,
This is good advice for instructors. If an instructor does not take control of the classroom the disruptive student will. Once that happens then chaos will reign and it will reduce the learning of all students. There must be containment.

I usually divide the student up and split up the groups. Therefore, all students get to work with each other. This is so they learn to all work together. For in the real world we most work with all kinds of people.
Mariann U

Good idea. Sometimes you can turn the disruptive student into an ally. Often they have natural leadership ability, they just express it in a dysfunctional way. I think that sometimes if a teacher has too much of a traditional background, a class clown is a real threat to them. They see it is a direct challenge to their authority, and head to head conflicts can arise. Never a good thing IMO. But with a little patience, SOMETIMES the clown's energy can be channeled into a more positive direction and they can be surprising asset to the class.

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