Interrupting a student

How do you interrupt a student?

I had a conversation about this today with a couple of members of my Staff team.

Students will sometimes get preachy and excited, talking more than is helpful and more than they realize. When this happens, everyone wants them to stop. Even the student who's doing the talking wants to stop. But it can be difficult to stop once you start rambling.

How do you help a student stop talking?

Here's my preferred technique ...

I use the Judo-Hijack Technique. What that means is that I roll with the ramble, take the conversational ball for a brief second and pass it immediately back to that same student with an affirmation and then, take the ball from them and pass it to the rest of the group. It's pretty tough to describe.

Student: " so you know the prosperity gospel isn't really the gospel and ..."

Judo-Hijacker: "Oh. That reminds me. I want your opinion on something. I've been reading Proverbs and it has a lot to say about money. I've been finding it challenging. How does the Bible shape how you think about money?"

Student: "Well ... [insert insightful comment here ... I work with insightful students] "

Judo-Hijacker: "What about the rest of you guys?" [turns to the Group and, yes, uses the "guys" even if it's a Group of women and, yes, feels awkward about it]

Group: "Thank you, for letting us join in" [to the tune of "Thank you for giving to the Lord"]

What would you do if you needed to interrupt a student?


  1. haha! Great post and suggestion! What do you do when their insightful comment is yet another ramble? I look for a pause, or look out for the next breath that they take, and then I say (sometimes shallowly) "That's interesting, how about the rest of you?

    1. Nice, Noemi. Once they accept your direction, even if they ramble, you're in the driver's seat.

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  3. It's like a science. I use the "ok" interruption. Here is my Judo-Hijack.

    Student: ramble, ramble, ramble
    Judo-Hijacker: Ok, ok, ok. That is good(talking louder than them and trying to jump in after a complete thought) what about the rest of yall? Have you felt like (student name here) and how they...(trying to use something they said to push the group to give input).

    During the Hijacking, I hope that referencing something valuable that they said, that may have been lost in the rambling, helps them feel valued even while I shut them down for the sake of the group.

    Love this post by the way. Hijacking is a skill we have to develop in order to love a group well.