As an experienced school teacher with years of experience interacting with various students, you will admit that no matter the passion and determination you put in to see that you carry all students along, some students still seem reluctant to learn.
These students seem to lack motivation or exhibit reluctant behaviours to be engaged within the class or with specific activities. It can often be highly challenging for the teacher because it may be difficult to pinpoint the ‘trigger point’ or cause of the reluctance, creating the feeling of helplessness or frustration in trying to connect and reach these students.
When we say reluctant students, our focus is not on students who try their best to learn but don’t meet up. We mean those who often have the potential to excel but don’t seem interested in learning. Students who are not interested in what the teacher is teaching are not fascinated to listen, ask questions, do assignments, or contribute meaningfully in classes.
One question that comes to mind is why these sets of students are not enthusiastic about learning like their fellow students.
When a student is not enthusiastic about learning, it can result from boredom, distractions, family problems, emotional difficulties, learning disabilities, and many other factors.
The following strategies will help you engage reluctant students and boost their level of participation.
- Nurture a growth mindset: Praise them for their efforts and hard work. Most importantly, it helps them to realize that their abilities and talents can be cultivated and improved through gradual and consistent efforts.
- Healthy relationship: Several types of learners exist in each classroom. It is now your responsibility to identify with your students. Know them personally to understand the best strategy that can work for them.
- Make topics relatable: Students who are reluctant to learn might be because the class is boring and they cannot relate to the lessons. In this scenario, it is advisable to be creative. Try to relate the subject to their daily lives, and use songs, games, and gestures to drive your points.
- Change the environment: Sitting all day in the classroom can be suffocating; therefore, you can take the classes outside sometimes and make it more practical.
- Get them involved: Be intentional in asking for their contributions. Try to ask always ask them questions during classes and make sure to apply them in class activities.
- Set clear goals and expectations: When there are goals and expectations, even reluctant learners will be pushed to make an effort to compete. Try to set goals and communicate effectively with the students.
- Encourage teamwork: By giving out group assignments and projects, they will feel free to interact with their age mates and contribute immensely.
- Ask other teachers: To make this easier and more productive, you need to find out from teachers who have worked with the student the best strategy that worked for them.
Motivating reluctant students might not be an easy one. Still, as a dedicated modern-day teacher, you should recognize that student motivation is necessary for success in learning. You are in the perfect position to improve and help all learners in the class, even the reluctant ones.
We are positive that although the above-listed strategy might not be able to change every student, it will surely help understand each student, make a difference and nurture great minds.
Feel free to add other strategies you think can be very helpful in engaging students.
As a tenacious teacher, you can also read Top 6 New Year Resolutions for Teachers