Assertiveness & Working with "Difficult Students" Peer Tutor Training

Grade Level & Curriculum Area:

The following is a self-paced training that can be completed independently by high school or college aged students. The following materials can be used to complete this training independently, however, this training can be modified so that students working in pairs can create digital stories as teams and then peer critique another group's stories to create a larger dialog. This is a training intended for peer tutors in a learning lab.

Learning Objectives:

This training aligns with CRLA Peer Tutor Certification Guidelines. Upon completion of this training, peer tutors will be able to:
  • Identify personal triggers of what the tutor considers the most "difficult" student to work with
  • Mentally prepare for potentially difficult situations that may occur during a future peer tutoring session.
  • Demonstrate comprehension of assertive behaviors and techniques to successfully work with "difficult" students during tutoring sessions
  • Demonstrate understanding of how to keep a tutoring session on track regardless of student behaviors within a tutoring session by creating a virtual “difficult student” tutoring scenario.

Training Description & Technology Integration:

The following training aims to utilize both virtual environments and peer to peer mentoring to guide students to address common "difficult" student types and scenarios that they may encounter as peer tutors. Through the use of digital storytelling, students will be able to demonstrate comprehension of their own biases against certain "types" of difficult students as well as appropriate means for dealing with these scenarios. This training includes a Prezi, a supplemental worksheet, a guided reflection worksheet and student created samples of digital stories. Following the training there is also a comprehensive rubric (please note: I do not score my student staff. This rubric is intended to be used for self-scoring or as a tool for students to peer critique one another in an environment of guided mentorship) as well as supplemental readings relating to the use of digital storytelling in higher education.

Assertiveness and Working With Difficult Students Training Instructions

Step 1
Download and read the instructions for completion of this training, included in the following PDF:

Step 2
Along with the following Supplemental Handout, view this Prezi

Step 3
Utilize the following Supplemental Training Handout PDF along with your hands-on tasks:

Digital Story Telling Training Rubric:

Digital Story Telling Training Samples:





Credits & Notes:

This training and all materials included were developed by Natasha Ford and/or the student staff of the Student Academic Resource Center at the University of Central Florida. We encourage you to utilize these materials for trainings with your student staff and to provide proper credit for original sources whenever appropriate. Natasha can be contacted for further questions at Please note, the above training materials were developed through a constructivist lens with the intention of providing students authentic learning opportunities as well as opportunities for peer to peer mentoring. Though the training can be completed 100% independently online, providing students with the opportunity to dialog about the training process, discuss the reflection as well as peer assess the final products is highly encouraged.

Further Reading & Research:

Technology-Supported Storytelling (TSST) Strategy in Virtual World for Multicultural Education by Jie Huang, Youngkyun Baek and Jungwon Cho (2012).

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling all around the World by Yuksel, P., Robin, B. & McNeil, S. (2011).

Impacts of Digital Storytelling on Self-Expression by Sim, H. (2010).

Storytelling and professional learning: A phenomenographic study of students' experience of patient digital stories in nurse education by
Angela Christiansen (2011).

Tips for dealing with difficult students