Learning with Purpose is Fun
The pandemic hit everyone hard. Some harder than others. Kids got hit especially hard.
Young kids just don’t have the life experience to develop strong coping mechanisms in the wake of difficult times. We’ve all called them resilient and strong and adaptable. But really, they’re mostly just getting’ by and surviving, like the rest of us.
Before the pandemic, there were many, many kids struggling with a lack of motivation to learn. Bottom line, they were bored at school… like bored out of their minds. ( <– Take a look at that link which is a firsthand account from a high schooler who loved school as a young kid, and later really struggled to not drop out.) The research is pretty clear that boredom is a major reason for low grades and leaving school altogether before graduating with a high school diploma.
Boredom is a really useful signal that something going on right now isn’t working. Boredom is most likely to occur when an environment is out of sync with one’s needs and interests.
What to do?
Yet there is good data pointing to two classroom culprits for boredom: too much or too little challenge and content that doesn’t seem meaningful. We need to help kids find meaning in what they are learning and doing.
Strategies that help kids meet boredom head-on are the ticket. One recommendation is to teach them to say, “O.K., I’m feeling bored,” and then reframe what they’re doing: “Are there any upsides to this? Are there any silver linings?”
This sort of mindfulness experience gives kids a sense of self-control and ownership. Author Dan Pink teaches this in his great book titled Drive:
Autonomy plus mastery leads to purpose.
Take a listen to his famous TED Talk HERE.
How can we give our kids opportunities for autonomy in learning? Can we give them more freedom in what and how they learn? What if we replaced tests with more hands-on learning activities to help them learn deeply and gain mastery?
What if we could give kids a sense of purpose and meaning in everything they learn?
It would be a beautiful world, indeed!