Feedback From the Field: Disruptive Students

Jun 04, 2008

In a previous issue of Inner IDEA Body-Mind-Spirit Review, we asked: How do you deal with a disruptive or needy participant without making him or her feel singled out?

“I've taught group exercise for 30 years so I’ve been up against many needy and disruptive individuals. An instructor can be a moving target, so it's important to be calm and assertive, and to inform management of impending phone calls and/or emails that person may shoot off to try and trump your leadership! 

“Needy or disruptive people can be dealt with on an individual basis. If someone is questioning me and it’s relevant, I respond with enthusiasm.  If the tone is confrontational I'll ask the person to talk after class. If he or she presses on then I ignore the behavior; or, if it's affecting the group I'll tell the person to look for another class where she will be more comfortable. The latter almost always disarms them.”

-- Lisa Roper, Cupertino, California

“I try to come up with something witty and wonderful to deflect the negativity of the participant. I continue to progress the class through the movement and I go personally to that individual and work with him to make the appropriate corrections in his form. I may have time to correct one more person so the disruptive individual is not ‘singled out.’


" I think that by being present in front of the person, it takes some of the intensity out of the comment. It also proves that I care and want them to ‘get it.’ After class I may mention that I am available to give more information/attention if they would like to sign up for a personal training session.”

-- Scottie Johnson, West Linn, Oregon

“I typically go closer to the disruptive participant. Mostly, I find that person feels uncomfortable with his or her abilities. Sometimes they aren’t happy with my cuing but mostly I find it’s an issue the person has with confidence.  So I'll move close enough to whisper, ‘how are you doing?’ Can I help you with a transition or pose?’ I have never had a situation where that did not help the person calm down and feel a part of the group. So that they don’t feel singled out, I will do this for other participants throughout class so they feel it is a part of the typical class.”

-- Leslie Denny, Oceanside, California

© 2015 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

0 Comments

Trending Articles

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Recipe for Health: Picadillo-Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible...

The Reason Your Clients Don't Acieve Their Goals

Lots of people hire personal trainers or join group fitness classes hoping to lose weight. Yet many fail to meet their goals. New research suggests that “progress bias”—overestimatin...

Rice-Cooking Technique Cuts Calorie Absorption in Half

In a molecular gastronomy-meets-lab-science moment, researchers at the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, have discovered a...

Next