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How to build a relationship with a closed-off student?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by daisy2019, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. daisy2019

    daisy2019 New commenter

    I (30 yr old female) teach in a sixth form college. It is predominantly international and I really enjoy working here, and get on very well with most of my students who are from all over the world. However there is one particular student whom I started teaching last September (age 17) who I find it hard to get through to. He is a high-attaining intelligent boy but does have some gaps in his knowledge which I am always very willing to help him with.

    However this student doesn't really want to connect with me, doesn't make much eye contact with me and doesn't talk to me very much unlike the others do. I try from my end to build some relationship with him, e.g. when he comes in I like to ask "how are you?", he gives a short reply and doesn't ask how I am unlike my other students do. It also extends to the academic side of things.

    If I ask him if he is stuck on a particular question he gives me the brush "no I'm fine". Recently, his friend was stuck on the same question as him and asked me for help, (this boy had refused my help just a couple of moments before his friend asked, saying he's fine). When I was about to help his friend I even offered this boy if he would like to listen to the explanation I was about to give to his friend as well since he looked stuck on it too, to which he said yes ok and then understood the solution.

    I am wondering how to possibly build some relationship with this student? He is from Spain but does not have a problem with English (he is half-English but grew up in Spain, at this college he hangs out with English-speaking students), I speak some Spanish so I am wondering if having light conversation with him in his own language might help things a bit?

    Thanks in advance for your help :)
  2. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    It sounds like he is shy to me. Some lads of this age hate having attention drawn to them. There is also the possibility that he is ASD. Have you asked other staff about him? I would carry on greeting him and checking discreetly that he is understanding the work. You can't force a connection and you may never get one, it's not a prerequisite for a good working relationship.

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