Awesome (Evidence based) ways to engage reluctant learners.
In this post I am classing reluctant learners as those who often do not 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. The key to creating engaged learners is to know the child and the barriers they face. Some issues may go 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 intellectual propensity so make that bond and enable all to achieve
1. Indulge Interests.
Making learning relevant to their lives is essential for developing much needed intrinsic motivation (Sanacore 2008). Nothing is more meaningful than hooking them with an element of their interests and building the learning around that. For example if their interest is computer games develop a task encompassing that i.e extending the backstory of a character. This is your first hurdle to getting a child to engage in what you have planned (Putting a minecraft border around a worksheet doesn’t count).
2. Provide Challenge.
Being challenged to accomplish a difficult task can really boost self esteem and the confidence to try incrementally harder tasks. In this case we are talking about the initial barrier. Even a simple task can have a tricky element to it e.g building a marble run track but it needs to bridge a gap and the pieces are too short. What can the child find to do the job?
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 try and fail without judgement. There are different ways to achieve this depending on the child. You may want to provide prompt positive feedback or stand back completely. Learned helplessness can be a big issue in classrooms where failure is almost a dirty word. Also do not focus solely on tasks a lot of education is about trying to communicate. If a child is trying to make friend model some approaches.
4.Raise their value.