There’s nothing more frustrating than teaching a student who is not focused on his lesson. He could be fidgeting or talking about something else, or like someone who has zoned out – thinking about other things, or he just sits there with his arms folded and a scowl on his face. These are all signs to show that the lesson is boring.
Learning should be fun. It is fun when the five elements below are present. Ask yourself if your children’s lessons have the following five things to make it fun.
Are your children actively learning instead of passively receiving any information? When children involve in activities using the information they receive, it immediately makes the learning fun. They become active users and not passive receivers.
To make it active, be interactive with your children, include movements where possible, use physical manipulations and activate the use of as many of the five senses as possible.
2. Make the Learner Curious
Curiosity may kill the cat but in terms of a child’s learning, it makes it more fun. When you make your child curious, they will want to discover more. They will do their best to stay focused and listen intently.
If you can make your children ask the question “what will happen if…”, “why is it so…” or “how does that happen…?”, it becomes exciting for them and they will start looking for the answers.
3. Cater to the Learner’s Interests
It’s always fun to do things that you’re interested in, so make learning fun for children based around their learning interests. What do they like? What are they into at the moment? Take that chance and make it the focus of learning.
Another way to cater to children’s interests is giving choices. If you have a group of children, you are well aware that no one is alike. They all have different interests. By offering choices, you allow them to select the one that interests them the most. There’s bound to be one in there that will appeal to each one.
4. Cater to the Learner’s Abilities
Children lose interest easily if something is too hard for them and they can’t do it. They will think of it as a chore and give up and zone out immediately. So don’t forget to look at your children’s level of ability. You might need to adjust the lesson to make it less or difficult. This will encourage them to keep going.
5. Offer a Challenge
At the other end of the too hard continuum, children will also lose interest if something is too easy and doesn’t offer them enough of a challenge. If it becomes boring, you will need to make the lesson more challenging.
This is where Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development is helpful. Basically, children’s learning shouldn’t be too easy nor too hard. It has to be in between. How you find the perfect in-between zone is you look at what children can do with some help. If they can do it all by themselves, it’s too easy. If they can’t do it at all by themselves, it’s too hard. If you can give them a little bit of help and they can do it, it’s the perfect place to give them the challenge they need.