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Addressing Willful Disengagement

There are kids who do poorly in school because they fail to learn, and then there are those who do poorly because they choose not to learn. How do we reach those students who have checked out on purpose? This list of resources is designed to help teachers understand the reasons why some students willfully disengage and provide strategies for how to connect with them.
A Collection By Sarah Bradstreet
  • 5 Collection Items
  • 5 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Addressing Willful Disengagement
  • smhp.psych.ucla.edu

    Working with Disengaged Students

    10 minute read
    Sarah Bradstreet says:
    This document, published by UCLA, provides strategies for reaching the students who refuse to learn. It emphasizes positive relationship-building, creating a safe classroom environment, and the importance of student choice in giving students a sense of ownership in their own learning.
  • Sarah Bradstreet says:
    Fear of shame can lead students to willfully disengage from learning in the classroom as a means of self-preservation. If they don't try, they can't fail; they can't be embarrassed. This article presents three strategies for creating an environment that preserves students' dignity and encourages them to take the risk of engaging.
  • psychologytoday.com

    Mis-education:why some adolescents refuse to learn in school

    8 minute read
    Sarah Bradstreet says:
    For adolescents, who are especially prone to insecurity and a need for peer acceptance, learning can be a risky endeavor. Failure can result in embarrassment and feelings of low self-worth. Sometimes, these fears can lead students to a flat-out refusal to learn. This article outlines how teachers and parents can help to make the learning environment feel safer so that students are more likely to take risks as they learn something new.
  • Sarah Bradstreet says:
    I first read this book when I was a graduate student working on my Master's in Education, and it has been highly influential for me. Considered the definitive work on the topic of "not learning," Kohl distinguishes between a failure to learn and a willful refusal to learn. He uses case studies to describe the process by which students actively choose not to learn as a form of self-preservation, stemming from a cultural mismatch with the teacher or school that threatens the students' identity.
  • pernillesripp.com

    Why Are They Disengaged? My Students Told Me Why

    6 minute read
    Sarah Bradstreet says:
    Sometimes, a student's choice to disengage is spurred by the teacher or the classroom environment. The author of this article got her students to open up about why they disengage, and here she records the reasons they gave. It provides insight into the way school can make students feel and it gives teachers a starting point for making positive changes in the classroom to reach these students.
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:What are some success stories you've had with reaching a student who had previously refused to learn?