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New Teachers


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Demi Moore Demi Moore 50 Points

How to I keep my students engaged while learning about a topic they do not care for?

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Sometimes students claim that a topic isn't interesting even before the teacher starts a lesson (my middle school students were expert at this). And yet when I asked students what made a topic interesting even if they had previously thought it was going to be "boring," they said that it was something the teacher did. Here are some ideas: Share your own interests, experience, or passion for the topic. Because we never know what will spark something in a student, we have to at least pretend to be interested ourselves. So teachers who say, “This next unit is pretty dull, but we have to cover it for the test,” are not setting the stage to engage students. Make connections between the topic and the students lives or current events. Incorporate a variety of teaching strategies. Science lends itself to hands-on activities, inquiry, cooperative learning, projects, using graphic organizers, multimedia presentations, and games or simulations. Even if a student is not interested in the content of the lesson, the types of activities may be engaging. Use formative assessments to gauge whether students are “getting it” or if you need to adjust your instruction. Once students get lost or confused, it’s hard to get them re-interested in a topic. If they know a topic, you could move on to a higher level of learning. For more, see this NSTA blog: Mary B

Navil Lopez Navil Lopez 810 Points

I also wondered about this as well. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen Castellon Kathleen Castellon 1085 Points

I would recommend doing a lot of experiments and modeling during the engage part of your lesson plan. Do things that make your students question themselves, "what just happened and how did she do that?" I have found even in the most boring topics, if your students have no idea what just happened, they will ask a million questions to find out what just happened! I guarantee no topic will be boring again.

Jessica Garcia Jessica Garcia 375 Points

I think that in order for students to be engaged and interested, teachers must motivate them by making them be active. Students enjoy getting up from their seats and performing an experiment even if they don't care for the topic. As long as they are doing something hands on rather than sitting in a desk they are happy. Also, probing students and asking them numerous questions get them to participate and become part of the lesson. Make sure the lesson provides students with problem solving tasks. 

Antonia Adams Antonia Adams 845 Points

I think a great way to do this is to present it in relation to their lives. Maybe include a song that has the beat of a popular song, or use objects that they are familiar with. Also, do hands-on activities. I've started asking myself, "Would I want to sit through this lesson?" to ensure that my lessons are both engaging and relatable for my students. 

Emilia Espitia Emilia Espitia 825 Points

Make the activity/lesson as relatable to their personal interests as possible! Differentiate your instruction to meet all of their needs, and most importantly, get to know your students! If you know they do not care for this topic, think about what they do care for or like and try tying it into the lesson somehow. Good luck!

Laura Evans Laura Evans 340 Points

If you can find a way to incorporate your student's personal interests into the lesson, they will be engaged and love it. Even if it is as simple as putting their name or favorite into a mathematical word problem. They love hearing about the things they love. 

Alyssa Henderson Alyssa Henderson 370 Points

I'm not a teacher yet, but in a program! I also know that engagement is vital, but hard to achieve especially in areas like science and math. Definitely making connections to real life is so important. Using fun activities like cooking to explain chemical reactions and stuff is a way to make the learning relevant. Science leaves so much room for hands on or real life observations that the possibilities are endless. I also definitely agree with setting the standard from the beginning. If you say it's tough and boring, it will be tough and boring. If you introduce it with a flair and some sass, it's much more likely to be fun and engaging.

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

I like how you put this -- with flair and sass! I've often suggested that teachers should take an acting class--even if it's a topic you yourself don't like, there may be students for whom it's an engaging topic. And if your attitude or words suggest that it's a boring topic ("but we have to cover it for the test") you'll have a hard time convincing the students it's worth their time and effort.

Jessica Romero Jessica Romero 3210 Points

Hello, I am also still in school and on the road to become an Elementary teacher. This last week, while being formally observed, I taught a science lesson to a class of third graders. The objective was be able to investigate and use bar graphs and tally charts. Unlike the traditional school lessons, I did not start with the objective. Rather, I made my own moon dough for each student--along with a few objects for them to press into the dough--and asked what they think we are learning about in science today...I had them classify their own fingerprints. However, I wanted a strong anticipatory set, and thought this would be great--and indeed, it was! The students were engaged throughout the lesson and were able to see how fingerprints were similar to those items that made marks in their moon dough. Once they were hooked, I then introduced the objective and began our lesson. I found that integrating math (the charts) was also fun because I had each student come pick the post it color that coordinated to their classification chart (three colors--one for each classification), then created their own hands-on bar chart! The more they are engaged and active, the better I feel the lesson will stick! 

Kathryn Lacey Kathryn Lacey 210 Points

I would recommend creating the lessons so they are catered more to the students’ interests and likes. Especially for the older grades, I feel as though they would be more willing to listen when they can relate to the topic and/or examples given by the teacher. I would also recommend creating lessons that allow the students to explore on their own and be more independent.

Kathryn Snavely Kathryn Snavely 230 Points

Something that I would definitely recommend is to create activities that are engaging for the students.  Things that are hands-on allow for the children to become much more engaged with the activity at hand.  Science is something that can be difficult for children to understand, especially if they are not given the opportunity to "do" science. 

Shelby Franz Shelby Franz 220 Points

I would recommend including hands-on activities to keep students engaged. A student might say something is boring, because they don't understand it and it is our responsibility as a teacher to do whatever we can to help them understand. When introducing new topics, you can also provide a personal experience with the topic that is positive to help get student's enthusiasm up.

Allyson Jones Allyson Jones 1090 Points

I think it is important to stick to a 5E lesson plan format so that you can make sure to have plenty of hands on activities for your students. Also, if you can incorporate something that they do find interesting into your teaching, that could help. Or if there's any funny videos on youtube... I know students love to watch videos. Making some sort of game out of the topic could also make for a more fun and interesting day in the classroom.

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