As anyone who was has worked with younger students before knows it can be quite difficult to keep them interested in learning, especially if they’re having difficulty in class already. Trying to force them to stay engage will usually end up with both parties feeling frustrated and will thus, hinder progress. Below are some tips to make learning fun for younger students.
Gear the material towards their interests
It usually pays off to take the time to figure out what the student is interested in and to try to make the lessons relate to that somehow. For example, articles relating to that topic can be provided or writing prompts can be made asking what the student finds interesting about the topic. Once the work relates to their interests, it will be easier for the student to be invested in the work and it will be easier for them to work on something that is already familiar to them.
Another issue that seems to arise when working with younger students is that they tend to lose focus on what it was that they were working on and once that happens it is quite difficult to get their attention again. One thing that you may consider doing is to try changing the learning topic every 10-15 minutes or so, by changing the topic you re-engage the student and you have their attention for another 10 minutes or so before it slips away again. By using this method, the student learns material in smaller chunks but is able to retain a lot more.
By incorporating games into lesson plans, it gives the student an additional incentive to actually do the work, and rather than working, the student is actually playing. There are a variety of educational games for students such as word searches can be used to improve vocabulary, or math sheets where the answers spell out a phrase or decipher some code. It may take some experimenting to see what it works best, but the end result should be a more engaged student.
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