Oftentimes low-conforming learners are mistaken for rebellious or “difficult-to-teach” students. They need to have a decision in the learning process and this can make things difficult for a student who must follow a set schedule and learn in a structured environment. However, it is easy to teach low-conforming learners if the teacher or parent follows three tips:
1. Relate to the student in a collegial manner. Speak to and relate to this student as person who is on the same level. Give them respect as you work with them.
2. Give the student choices in how to meet the objective. It will greatly help the student if the teacher can offer them the opportunity to choose the subject they will be studying. However, for many learning situations, this is not an option. But can you offer them a choice in the order of assignments? For example, can you let them choose which subject to learn first or even which problem to start on first? (I’ve allowed my own students to start from the last math problem and work backwards if it helps them!) When a low-conformer has choice in learning, his/her mind becomes more alert and efficient.
3. Give the student good reasons for completing the assignment or allow the student to come up with a good rationale him/herself. Help him identify his own personal goals and how this assignment fits into the process of achieving them.
Low-conforming students are wired to lead and will perform much better when given the opportunity to learn in these ways.
Do you have a low-conformer? Tell us about him or her in a comment! What does he do that makes you feel that he is low-conforming? What strategies work for him?