Dealing with Difficult Students: The Slow, the Rude and the Uncaring

1.0 Continuing Education Credit Hour

Category: Education Fundamentals

This module addresses the classic three types of difficult learners, defining the behavior, describing the necessary assessment, making the diagnosis, and formulating a plan required to work with each type of difficult learner.


John D. Mahan, MD

Dr. Mahan is a Professor of Pediatrics in the OSU College of Medicine and serves as Director for the Center for Faculty Development at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Department of Pediatrics.  He practices as a Pediatric Nephrologist and continues to serve as Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship Program Director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital/OSU, Columbus, Ohio and Director for Education in the OSU College of Medicine Center for Faculty Advancement, Mentoring and Engagement (FAME).

In addition to serving as Senior Editor for the FD4ME since 2010, through FAME oversees a team of medical educators devoted to promoting best educational practices in medicine, online faculty development through FD4ME, and contributing to medical education innovation and scholarship. He has presented on medical education topics at workshops and symposia at the annual AAMC, ACGME, Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, Association of Pediatric Program Directors Meeting, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology Meeting, American Society of Nephrology Meeting, International Pediatric Nephrology Association and the Annual Dialysis Conference. 

He was a member of the Federation of Pediatric Organizations Strategic Visioning Summit (2013) and is a recipient of the ACGME Parker Palmer Courage to Teach Award (2013) and the OSU College of Medicine Faculty Teaching Award (2006).  He was elected to the Alpha Omega Honor Society (Drexel University) (2012) and Arthur Gold Humanism Society (2013).  He was recipient of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Career Achievement Award (2014).  He also serves as Chair of the Editorial Board to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Pedialink, the online portal to AAP education and educational resources.


  1. Recognize key concepts related to adult education--pedagogy vs. andragogy.
  2. Understand and be able to apply important medical education concepts (tools of the trade) such as feedforward/feedback and coaching.
  3. Describe the 3 cardinal qualities of a teacher/facilitator, according to Carl Rogers.
  4. Differentiate and be able to diagnose the three types of difficult learners: the slow learner, the learner with poor interaction skills and the unmotivated learner.
  5. Develop an effective intervention treatment plan for the slow learner, the learner with poor interaction skills, and the unmotivated learner.

Online Module

When completing the on-line module you will be presented with learning objectives, brief cases, questions for reflection (not scored), and interactive lessons with hyperlinks to engage you along the way. Once you complete the lessons, you will be presented with the Post Test (which requires a score of 80%) and then the Module Evaluation, followed by the opportunity to print your Continuing Education Certificate. Modules remain available for your future reference once you have completed them.