How To Engage Reluctant Pupils in Learning.
In this post I am classing reluctant learners as those who rarely finish tasks, they may do the minimum to get by or even flat-out refuse to take part. As inclusive teachers, we constantly have to be mindful of the drivers of the child’s behaviour. How to engage a reluctant learner is a common question from new teachers and trainees.To create an engaged learner, know the child and remove the barriers to learning they face. Click To Tweet
Some issues are deeper and require additional specialist support. A class teacher dedicated to engaging their students can have a huge impact on the student’s experience of education and their outcome in life. Engaging learners is as much about emotional confidence as
1. Indulge Interests.
Making learning relevant to their lives is essential for developing much-needed intrinsic motivation (
2. Provide Challenge.
Being challenged to accomplish a difficult task can really boost self-esteem and the confidence to try incrementally harder tasks. Even a simple task can have a tricky element to it
3. Encourage attempts
So many children I work with are wary of the negative emotions linked to perceived failures, of not being good enough. Not make mistakes but to be free to
4. Raise their value.
How children perceive themselves can have a huge impact on their engagement. Are they the troublemaker always on the black cloud? Consistently receiving negative comments about themselves will reinforce low self-esteem, low efficacy, or learned helplessness. An easy way to raise the child’s value in class is to praise and recognise all achievements. Take down reward charts etc that may be a source of shame. This will then make it easier to show them the value of learning!
5. Provide trust and freedom
This can feel like a risk. If you give students freedom and a chance to act responsibly you reduce reliance on adult feedback and support.
This is not about the level of challenge but the power & control over classroom activities for the child. Teachers compromise self-determination when teachers require children to follow a rigid curriculum, rules, and assessments. Freedom to choose can positively influence their values and their academic performance and general well-being (Kohn 1993) For example let the students choose the country they study for a topic, the books they read and even sometimes if resources allow where to go on community trips.
Ways to Engage Reluctant Learners Infographic
Joseph Sanacore (2008) Turning Reluctant Learners into Inspired Learners, The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 82:1, 40-44
Clifford, M. 2007. Students need challenge, not easy success. In
Kaleidoscope: Readings in education, ed. K. Ryan and J. Cooper, 218–24.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin.