Educators can use boredom to their advantage by tailoring their content to meet student needs, according to a post by Jon Oosterman, learning specialist, Van Andel Institute for Education, writing in eSchool News.
Below are five strategies Oosterman has found “incredibly” useful for turning a blasé lesson plan into student brilliance:
- The Bored Board: Extra time, free time, downtime, whatever name it goes by, can be a great time for students to pursue some of their own interests, However, not all students know what to do with this time! The “Bored Board” can help give students options and eliminate the question, “I’m done, now what?” This can be a physical handout, but it also works great as a digital tool that can link to text, videos, interactive simulations and more.
- Learning Menus: Provide students with a learning menu filled with intellectually rich activities. Students can then choose which activities to complete to meet the assigned requirements. It’s best to include choices that differentiate for content (such as harder or easier texts), process (such as where to work), and product (such as presentation format). This can take the form of a tic-tac-toe board, or an appetizer-main course-dessert, or any other format you dream up.
- Notes Scavenger Hunt: Turn your next lecture into something interactive and exciting! Create a handout with blanks that need to be filled in then paste QR codes, books, articles, or other materials around the room and allow students to move around freely and explore each resource to complete their notes. This strategy actively engages students in notetaking and gets them up, moving, and thinking.
- Wrong Answers Only: Have students come up with the best wrong answers to a question. Wrong answers might be great because they show a common error, because they’re the exact opposite of the correct response, or just because they’re funny. Students will be challenged to understand the correct answer deeply in order to get it wrong just right.
- Project-based Learning: Through PBL, students work on hands-on, real-world projects that are relevant and interesting to them, fostering a deeper connection to the subject matter. This approach encourages critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, as students are often working in groups and learning from each other. The dynamic nature of PBL maintains student interest and motivation.
Use boredom as a catalyst for creativity and self-discovery. Show students that learning is about more than just memorizing old facts. Learning is about engaging with questions, using knowledge to expand horizons, and using the tools needed to meet new challenges.