What do we do when our students lack interest?

22 Simple Assessment Strategies to Use Every Day

Lack of student interest and motivation is a challenge for teachers. Many of the following methods are research-based and have been shown to be effective in motivating students and sparking their desire to learn. 

1. Be warm and inviting students into the classroom

 No one wants to enter a home where they don’t feel welcome. The same goes for students. Your classroom should be a welcoming place where students feel accepted and safe.

This finding has been imbued with research carried out over more than 50 years. Gary Anderson suggested in his 1970 report,  titled  ”  Effects of Classroom Social Climate on Individual Learning “, that classes have a distinctive personality or “  climate  ”, which influences the learning effectiveness of their members.

Anderson said:

“  The properties that make up a classroom environment include the interpersonal relationships among students, the relationships between students and their teachers, the relationship between students and the subject under study and its method of learning, and students’ perception of class structure  ”.

2. Give students choice

 Research shows that letting students choose is a key method of increasing engagement. As students progress from year to year, they become more and more “disconnected”. Integrating students’ choices into the school day is one of the best ways to awaken their commitment.

The research report also noted that ” One of the simplest ways to give students choice in the school day is to incorporate independent reading time in which they can read whatever they want .  “

In all disciplines, students can choose between answering a questionnaire or responding to writing instructions. Students can make choices about research topics. Problem-solving activities give them the opportunity to try different strategies. Teachers can provide activities that allow students to have more control over their learning. They can, in this way, acquire a greater sense of belonging and find more interest. 

3. Deliver authentic learning

Research has shown over the years that students are more engaged in their learning when they feel that what they are learning is connected to their everyday life, outside of the classroom. Authentic learning can be defined as follows.

“  The basic idea is that students are more likely to be interested in what they are learning, more motivated to learn new concepts and skills. They are also better prepared to succeed in college, in their careers, and in adulthood if what they learn reflects real-life contexts. This pedagogy gives them practical and useful skills and addresses topics that are relevant and applicable to their life outside of school  ”.

In conclusion, teachers should, as often as possible, make connections between the real world and the lesson they are teaching.

student interest

4. Use project-based learning

Solving real world problems should be the beginning of the educational process rather than the end. It is a very motivating learning strategy. Project-  based learning involves solving real-world problems. Here is how this pedagogy is described:

”  It can improve students’ engagement in school, increase their interest in what is being taught, strengthen their motivation to learn, and make learning experiences more relevant and meaningful . “

The project-based learning process takes place when students start with a problem to solve, complete a research project, and then solve the problem using tools and information typically taught in a number of lessons. Instead of learning information outside of its real-world application context, project-based learning helps students connect what they learned in school to solving real-world problems.

50 clever ideas for project-based learning

5. Make learning objectives obvious

Often, a student who seems unmotivated to us is actually a young person who is afraid to reveal how overwhelmed they feel. Some topics can be overwhelming due to the amount of information and detail involved. Providing students with a roadmap, giving specific learning goals, showing them exactly what you want them to learn can help alleviate some of their concerns.

6. Establish cross-links

Sometimes students do not realize that what they are learning in one discipline overlaps with what they are learning in other subjects. Explicit interdisciplinary connections allow students to make sense of context and increase their interest in all relevant disciplines. For example, just ask a French teacher to have their students read a historical novel, while that same class works on the system of slavery and the pre-Civil War era in history. This parallel between subjects can lead to a deeper understanding of both disciplines.

Theme-based schools like health, engineering, or the arts take advantage of these cross-curricular connections by having teachers in the same classes find ways to integrate students’ professional interests into their lessons.

7. Provide learning incentives

While some people don’t like the idea of ​​engaging students in learning, an occasional reward can help the unmotivated and uninterested student get involved. Incentives and rewards can be diverse: having free time at the end of a course, organizing a party or taking part in an excursion to a special place. Clearly explain to students what they must do to earn their reward and encourage them to work together as a class group.

8. Give students a purpose bigger than themselves

Ask students the following questions: “What do you want? What are you doing to achieve what you want? Does it work ? What are your plans or options? »

Having students think about this type of question can lead them to work for a larger goal. You can, for example, partner with a school in another country or work on a service project as a group. Any type of activity that gives students a reason to get involved and interested can reap huge benefits for your class.

9. Use hands-on learning

The research is clear: hands-on learning motivates students. Here is an excerpt from a white paper in the resource area for teaching notes:

”  Well-designed hands-on activities focus learners on the world around them, arouse their curiosity, and guide them through engaging experiences, while achieving expected learning outcomes . “

By involving more senses than just sight or hearing, student learning reaches a new level. When students are able to feel artifacts or be involved in experiences, the information you teach them becomes more meaningful and engages more interest.

Read also…

Source: Kelly, Melissa. “What to Do When Students Lack Interest. » ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/when-students-lack-interest-8086.

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