A lecture-based teaching style. I remember sitting in a "Sunday School" class as a kid. We had two teachers. They took turns teaching the lesson. When one was teaching, the other one would fall asleep. As kids, we had too much energy to fall asleep. Instead, we were forced to sit there for an hour and endure what seemed like an eternity of torture. I'm not blaming the teachers. I am thankful for their hearts to minister to us. They simply didn't know that lecturing is not the best way to teach kids. In this article, I share a more effective way to teach kids.
Making them sit still. When we tell kids to "sit still and be quiet" we are really saying "sit still and be bored to death." Kids were made to move. In fact, the more kids move...the more they learn. If you want to engage kids with your lesson, use participatory, hands-on, active learning. In this article, you can read more about how to get kids moving.
Not honoring their attention span. Kids have an attention span of 1 minute for every year of their age - maxing out at 5 minutes. When you violate this, they will get bored. If you want to keep their attention, reset their internal clock every five minutes by switching to another activity, song, game, object lesson, etc.
Not using visual communication. This generation hears with their eyes. Words will bore them. Words accompanied by images will engage them.
Only using one learning style. When you limit your lesson to just one or two learning styles, the kids who learn differently will get bored. Be intentional about using all the learning styles when you are teaching and you'll engage all the kids.
Not letting them talk. "Sssssshhhhhh" kids and they will get bored. And if all the talking is being done up front...you will lose them. Give them opportunities to discuss deeper learning questions. Read this article for the latest findings regarding this.
Putting them in space designed for adults. Stick them in a room with beige walls and brown metal folding chairs and it will contribute to boredom. Can you engage kids even if the room is not kid-friendly? Yes, but you'll have to work harder to compensate for the dull environment. Kids are drawn to bright, fun colors. Kid-friendly environments do make a difference. Ever seen a kid bored at Disney World?
Not knowing their culture. Ever tried to talk with someone who doesn't speak your language? Hard to connect, isn't it? If you're talking cassettes to digital download kids, you'll lose them. In a recent training, I shared about how to connect with today's kids. You can read it here.
Talking down to them. Baby talk leads to boredom. When you're in a room with kids of multiple ages, always talk to the oldest kid in the room. Cool rolls down hill.
Not telling stories. A story is the greatest boredom buster of all times. Want to see kids lock their attention on what your saying? Tell a story. Great story tellers are great teachers. Jesus, the greatest teacher of all times, used stories as one of His primary means of capturing people's attention.
The floor is yours. What are some other reasons kids get bored during a lesson? What do you do to keep kids engaged when you're teaching? Share with us in the comment section below.