Understanding and Teaching the Reluctant Learner

Lessons from Social Psychology and Communications

Interacting with the reluctant learner is a difficult process that often elicits an emotional response from educators. Our interchanges with these particular students are some of our most memorable experiences, in part due to the negative psychological impression they have left on us.

So how can we navigate such situations so that we can achieve the best outcome, limiting damage to the student-teacher relationship and hopefully changing course so as to inspire motivation?

In this session we will review models and studies from the social science literature – particularly from Social Psychology and Communication – and explore conflict management and persuasion techniques, including motivational interviewing.

After attending this session, you will be able to:

  • Define and identify the reluctant learner;
  • Describe motivational interviewing, conflict resolution, and persuasion techniques; and their potential use for educators; and
  • Develop interventional strategies to best motivate the reluctant learner.

Session Date

Presenter Bio

Lori W. Wagner, M.D., M.A., F.A.C.P., is an associate professor in the School of Medicine; Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Medical Education. In addition to her medical degree, she has advanced tutelage in higher education, with a concentration on adult education. Dr. Wagner received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2012 for her work with behaviorally at-risk patients, achieving positive physician-patient relationships and healthcare outcomes in this difficult population.

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