Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blog 10: Tutoring Resistant / Reluctant Students

Hello Blog!
I can think of two examples of having had to tutor a resistant or reluctant student. My first example was definitely a resistant student. He was a non-native speaker who didn’t seemed to accept me as someone he could look to for help on writing. He challenged almost every mistake I pointed out. Also, he refused to take advice on where he could improve.  I should have realized that he didn’t want my help and that it would be better if I had ended the session quickly, but I tried my best to help him understand and the session ended up being much, much longer than it should have.
I think my second example would probably fall into the category of ‘reluctant’ more than ‘resistant’. He was very friendly and nice and he smiled a lot, but he said he was embarrassed by the content of his paper. He made it very clear, right at the beginning of the session, that he did not want me to read his paper out loud. While still being friendly, he sat back and put his headphones on. I’m not sure if he was just trying to pass the time while I read over his paper, or if he was actively disengaging from the session and pretending to be nice about it. I wasn’t sure how to react, but I read his paper silently anyway and made tick marks on the sides where we could talk about where he could improve. He had written about failing high school and having become addicted to drugs. One night, he overdosed on the drug and almost died. He believed that Christ had saved him for a reason, and he ended up turning his life around and was eventually able to begin studying here at Weber State.
Personally, I thought it was a pretty inspiring story. He should be proud that he had been able to overcome so much hardship; there are many people who can’t overcome their addictions and just give up. I told him that he had nothing to be embarrassed about, and we went over each part where I had seen a mistake or something that could be improved. I was careful not to mention anything specific (like drugs, religion, failing high school) out loud that might embarrass him if someone overheard us talking, since he seemed to be sensitive about one, or all, of these topics. He was engaged and responsive to the suggestions I made, which made me think that he wasn’t trying to disconnect from the session after all.
From what I’ve noticed about resistant versus reluctant students, resistant students have an ego problem that prevents them from accepting that they are wrong and could use some help, while reluctant students realize they need help, but they are just embarrassed or a little insecure about seeking assistance from one of their peers. In the future, I think I would rather have reluctant tutees than resistant ones, as the reluctant ones are much more pleasant and more accepting.


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