Re-engaging students who have lost interest.

It sets in every year about this time. School has been back in session for a few months and the excitement of a new year has worn off. In its place is boredom, disinterest and malaise. What do you do? What’s the best way to go about re-engaging students who have lost interest? Here are some strategies.

  1. Find the fun – Most students don’t really want to spend hours working on long division or discussing the economic roots of the Civil War. You need to find a way to make the lesson more exciting. Add a game or role-playing scenario to increase interest. Or make ordinary tasks more fun. Consider trading in traditional notebooks for one shaped like monkeys, ducks or elephants. It may not make verb conjugation the highlight of the day, but it will add a touch of whimsy.
  2. Make projects more than school – Instead of just confining lessons to the classroom, why not include the community? Make a watercolor art show for the community, or send students to nursing homes to interview the elderly about their youth. Planning these events involves all sorts of practical skills and will give children a sense of responsibility.
  3. Turn on the music – Music is a great tool for changing moods. On a rainy day, it can take your class from slow and lethargic to upbeat and excited. On the flipside, if kids are getting a bit too squirrely, mellow tunes can bring them back down a bit. A small speaker can add just the right amount of volume to set the mood without taking over.
  4. Move around – If things are starting to become stagnant, change your location. If the weather allows it, getting outside the classroom is a fun and engaging way to learn about science in the real world. Or a trip down to the school gym or cafeteria lets you teach in a physical manner the classroom may be too confining for.

Whatever you do, remember that bored and disinterested students probably aren’t benefitting much from the lesson. Re-engaging students is the key to ensuring that they’re actually learning.