How to get pupils interested in activities they don’t like?

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When I think back to high school, the overriding feeling I get is one of boredom. Don’t get me wrong; some of my lessons were great, but a significant number were lack-lustre and immediately conducive to demotivation. You might feel exasperated trying to engage your pupils, but with these easy tips on how to get pupils interested in activities they don’t like, your pupils will all be motivated and on the way to success.

Variety is  the key

History is notoriously and stereotypically a boring subject, and for two years of high school my history lessons were no exception. Every lesson had an identical format: that of a lecture and note-taking.

Instead of ploughing on with monotonous activities, try to mix things up. Including videos, group discussions or even role playing can wake students up when they have lost focus. The worst thing for a student is to be idly listening to a lecture that makes a boring topic even more tedious; get them moving and surprise them with new activities.

Show your passion

Every teacher must inherently be passionate about their subject, so show this to your pupils. How can you expect a pupil to be interested in your subject if you aren’t interested too? Even if it means exaggerating your body language and putting a big smile on your face, you’ll definitely get a wry smile in return from your pupils and perk them up when they’re looking glum.

Personal anecdote

A great way to show your passion is to tell them a little bit about yourself. You might baulk at the thought of your pupils knowing something about your life beyond the classroom, but your pupils are human beings too, who thrive on forming relationships with others.

If personal anecdotes aren’t your thing, even a lively catchphrase can help students regain their focus. My Chemistry teacher had a habit of emulating Harry Hill’s catchphrase “which is best? There’s only one way to find out. Fight!” in order to show us the reactivity of various elements, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

Make it relevant

It’s far too easy for pupils to say “what’s the point?” if they are struggling to understand a particular topic. In an age where the government is pressurising schools to provide pupils with skills transferable to employment inthe real world, learning about trigonometry in Maths can be a real turn-off (I’ve certainly never had to use it since high school).

If you tell students how your activity relates to the outside world though, they’ll soon realise that school isn’t pointless and boring after all. Highlighting the importance of trigonometry in city planning and engineering for example, might just switch your pupils’ brains back on.

Give them prizes

All pupils like being competitive, and any activity can be motivated by the prospect of receiving a prize at the end. If your students are reluctant to get involved in group projects, reward the best one with a prize. Even something as simple as some chocolate or sweets can work, and it won’t break the bank either.

Providing variety and making your activities interesting won’t just be beneficial for your students though; you’ll find yourself enjoying teaching more too. Unresponsive or disinterested pupils make for stale classroom atmospheres, but by motivating pupils and by arming yourself with fun activities, boring classrooms will become a thing of the past.

Have you got any more ideas on how to get pupils interested in activities? Then post them below!

About the Author:
Julia is a short story writer and poet with an interest in writing book reviews. She writes for a student newspaper and recommends stickers from School Stickers to keep learning fun and interesting.

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