Argumentative Student: Don't Back Them Into a Corner

When planning lessons, plan with your argumentative student in mind. Don't back them into a corner or force them to learn in a way that you know doesn't work for them.


When you’re planning a lesson with argumentative students in mind you have to remember that whatever you planned, realistically, is not what's going to occur. Your argumentative student might decide that they don't want to do the work, they might just put their head down on their desk. I’m thinking of a particular student of mine who would do these behaviors. So in situations like this what I’ve done is give multiple options to this child and tried to make sure that whatever the lesson is there's some element of it that I know will interest him and ultimately sometimes even multiple options don't work. What really doesn’t work is backing that child into a corner and forcing them to do something because an argumentative kid, that's their playground. They will say “Nope you're forcing me to do something I absolutely will not do it.” So having the ability to remain flexible in a situation such as that will get you farther than forcing a child to try and get them to do something.

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