• Victoria Lentfer

A Student Refuses to Engage, What Do You Say?

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

What do you do when you have asked a student to do something, and they flat out tell you no? I keep prompting them to do what I requested and they continue to say no. The student is not having a good day and the teacher senses it will only escalate as they prompt the student to engage in the lesson. What do you say or do? I get asked these questions almost every class, workshop, and seminar.



Can we control anyone? No Can I force anyone to do something they truly do not want to do? No. And that's okay. Remember, we all have choices. I would simply say to the student - okay, you have made your choice, but here's something for you to think about - I believe in you. Then walk away. Leave them alone. Let them think about your words. Give the student a powerful positive message. What do you have to lose? You know they are not going to engage in anything for the day, so give them something powerful to think about. Be specific with your comment - I believe in you, I am sure happy you are in my classroom today, I sure do enjoy the great energy you bring to our classroom. They may never have heard those words spoken to them.


You can't force students/people to do anything. And if you know in the depths of your heart, on this particular day, a student is not going to follow instructions, let it go. Go with the flow. Tomorrow is a new day. But more importantly, you are giving that student something to think about.


I challenge you to give a specific powerful message. When you sense the student is not going to cooperate with any instruction, meet them with kind, gentle words. Be consistent, and in time this message will change your relationship with this student. Let me know how it works. Share your thoughts.


Have a fantastic day! :)




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