If you just get kids excited about learning, they will be engaged.
We hear statements such as this so very often in education. I agree with the point that we must help kids find what ignites their passion and assist them to pursue learning.
it is vital to light that proverbial fire in a child’s spirit.
It’s not about the technology or the tool… it’s about the kid. Yes, technology can be engaging occasionally, but eventually the novelty wears off. If kids are doing the “same old, same old” on a digital device, the novelty of the device will not keep any kid engaged.
Digital worksheets are not more engaging than paper worksheets. Interactive white boards are not more engaging. Trying to find a “hook” for bad pedagogy doesn’t mask bad pedagogy.
To engage a kid, you have to look at the kid.
As an educator creeping up on the 20 year mark, I feel like we’re bombarded with new tips and tools to “trick” kids into being engaged. The problem with those tips and tricks is that they’re usually gimmicks, and kids are not fools.
Want to engage a kid? Get to know him. Ask her what interests her. To engage children in learning, show them that you care about their interests and what makes them tick.
Realize that kids are not learning machines every day. Some days, they haven’t had enough sleep. Some days, they haven’t had adequate/proper nutrition. Some days, they’re having problems at home. For many kids, sleep, nutrition, and personal safety are daily issues.
Even if you help them pursue their passions, they will not be engaged all the time.
They need compassion and grace, not gimmicks. Sometimes, that project isn’t the most important thing.
They need love and understanding. Sometimes, math isn’t more important.
If you want a kid to care about his learning, he needs to know you care about him. We KNOW this. I just don’t think we’re always that good at PRACTICING it.
Don’t fall for the gimmicks. Remember that kids are human. Remember you are, too.