Co-Opting the Student Leader

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To change the classroom dynamics and over all performance is a tricky thing, especially after the start of the school year!  

Every classroom has a peer leader (often more than one).  While you’re the teacher, the peer leader plays a powerful role and has great influence on the educational outcomes of all students in the class, even those that do not follow that person.  These leaders influence you, you must respond (good or bad), to their behaviors and actions and that has an impact on all students.

In this episode we talk about how my difficult class has progressed, and how the peer leader has played a positive role, but is also really negatively influencing the entire class.  More importantly, we discuss an appropriate response, which is co-opting that student.  While we test individual students, we guide and teach a group.  If we ignore the group dynamics and do not appropriately address the group dynamics, then we will be far from efficient teachers.

Another key component here is relationships and roles.  It is such a widely accepted truth that relationships between teachers and students lead to positive outcomes, that it is never even challenged.  We briefly discuss a key component to making this assumption a reality:  roles.  Each member of the group (yourself included) has a role.  The role supersede the relationship!  As the teacher, if I do not fulfill the role of the educator, but have great relationships with students, the positive outcomes will not be realized.  

Putting these two ideas together (1) co-opting the leader to help guide the group and (2) assigning a positive role to the leader, we have a legitimate chance at changing a classroom dynamic mid-year!  

(To see a copy of the quiz assigned to the class, as discuss in the episode, click here.)