How to teach a boring topic?: 7 quick and easy tips
Every teacher has some topics in their list that they either find boring to teach, or which their students find boring to learn. The underlying reasons for such boredom are many: the topic can be difficult, information heavy or just abstract; something that students don’t relate with.
Dull, bored faces that yawn and look sleepy is a nightmare for educators, because every educator craves for that spark in the eyes of students that says, “Aha! I got it”. Unfortunately, there are always some topics which students often find boring.
Read along to find out how you can make such a boring topic interesting:
- Give some context
Topics that students can’t relate to are usually the ones they find boring too. “Why do I need to study this?” is often the question that blocks their learning. Educators can therefore start with connecting the topic with real life context. Give students an interesting reason to study that topic.
Quick look: 7 Easy tips to teach a boring topic
Context can be given in multiple ways, such as, a parallel to the event that they come across every day, an application of what they are studying, an interesting fact, or a background story. When a topic is accompanied by such a context, it will push the students to learn and understand better.
To elucidate with an example, students often find geometry boring. But you can bring the context in by assigning students role plays. Students can take up roles of engineers, artists, architects and understand how certain concepts of geometry can be of relevance in real life. Or, for e.g. how cost price and sales price are applied in a business. How do these prices come into picture when students buy their favorite ice cream? This is a great way to introduce cost price, sales price to students and instigate their interest in the topic.
- Supplement your study material
Adding supplementary materials like videos, demonstrations, experiments, can add some extra flavor to a boring complicated topic. It completely changes the way students perceive the topic or subject material. Keep a tab out for these types of study materials. Padhio has a collection of short 2minute videos that any educator can use as supplementary material. The videos are made by diverse educators/creators and have different teaching styles, including analogies, experiments, memes and many more. Educators can select study supplements according to their students’ preference of learning styles. For example, if your student is into football, you can choose a video that explains how speed, velocity and proper angles while hitting the ball is related to physics. At the same time, keep a note that you don’t overload students with too many extra things. Select few and student-choice based supplementary material.
- Add humor
Overcoming boring and mundane things can be tough. Humor can help you here. Try Memes that make boring topics more interesting with an element of fun. Humor eases out remembering as well as aids in better recall, something that helps students in the present as well as future . It is also a mode of information that is highly preferred by GenZs these days. So, there is no harm in having a few laughs about a topic and easing into the boring areas.
- Be compassionate
We understand that it can be frustrating when students are not able to understand something that you have put so much effort into. However, acting strict when children are already struggling with learning can make them more rigid. They might end up losing the interest in learning altogether. Acting compassionately can really help in this situation. Understand how the student wants to be taught and proceed. If a student seems burnt out, it’s best to take a break and start over again later.
- Accept it
Accepting that some topic is boring or difficult in front of students can ease them down significantly, lowering down their guards. Initiate a discussion with students as to why they find the topic boring in the first place. Try to address the issues. Brainstorm with students. Come up with strategies in collaboration with them to study the topic. Go back and forth in discussion with students while understanding the concept.
- Introduce Group learning
Group learning is another strategy that can help you through boring topics. Rather than you as a teacher taking the center stage, let students do the same. You can divide students in groups, make each group present a part of the topic in the classroom, hold discussion forums where just the topic is discussed, or make them do a project related to the topic. The mere involvement of students in their own learning process can help them significantly overcome the mental barriers in learning the topic, especially a boring one.
- Encourage with rewards
Do you remember giving stars, badges, chocolates to students who scored well in the exams during early schooling? Something similar can be applied in the context of boring topics too. Set goals and reward the students for the same. You can give them rewards for making progress in their lessons or when they finish tasks in groups.
This will motivate them to learn and enjoy the process of learning. This is our list of ways. Feel free to share your strategies that you have used in the class to overcome the block of boring topics. If you do apply some of these strategies in your classroom, let us know how things went.
Having said that, all the above points can be adopted in a standard classroom format to make learning effective and fun.