Mar 4, 2015

10 Reasons Why Your Lessons Are Boring Kids to Death

Ever heard a kid say your lesson was boring?  If so, it was probably due to one or more of these reasons.  

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. 

4 comments:

I'm not a kid but I'm in an adult Special-needs Sunday school class and we are TREATED like CHILDREN! Our teacher talks down to us and treats us like stupid kinder gardeners just because we're "labeled" special-needs! The WHOLE CLASS except for TWO kids are all high-functioning special-needs, meaning we all function at a high-school level, but we have "hidden" disabilities. Meaning disabilities that you can't physically see and don't realize we have until you meet us.

My special needs class has eleven students and out of those eleven only TWO are low-functioning, yet, she treats us ALL like we're low-functioning! She talks to us like you would talk to a first grader!

And that's not the only problem! The MAIN problem I have with our special-needs Sunday school class, is that she literally treats the class like SCHOOL! Yes! All we do is sit at desks and waste the WHOLE HOUR filling-out stupid work-sheets and doing boring, babyish, bible-verse memorization!

Every Sunday it's the same boring lessons over and over and over again!

Our special-needs Sunday school "routine" goes like this. Come in. Sit down. Pray. Spend five minutes "visiting" with our TEACHER NOT EACH OTHER! Watch a boring lesson video. Do the work-sheets. Read and fill-in the blanks. Read and fill-in the blanks. Do boring bible-verse memorization. Erase a word. Say the bible verse. Erase another word. Say the bible verse AGAIN. The verse MUST be RECITED TOGETHER as a GROUP agonizingly S-L-O-W! Pray. Leave. Come back next week. Repeat. This boring cycle is repeated in our class week after week, month after month, year after year! It NEVER ENDS!

We get no time to socialize or make friends, the whole "persona" of the class is that it's nothing but "school" and as a result, we have a huge drop-out rate. We never have new students who come in and stay longer than a week.

I don't mean this to be mean, but our teacher IS the main problem. For example, I've flat-out told her that what she's doing is boring and stale to us and I've suggested new ideas and new methods of teaching that would be more interesting to US but she rejects everything I come up with because SHE doesn't like them or they weren't HER idea!

Everything we do has to be what she likes and what she likes only! Music has to be music that SHE likes. Boring hyms and gospel music only. No fun, upbeat, Contemporary Christian rock music allowed! All because SHE doesn't like that kind of music!

Books have to be books that SHE likes. Boring, slow-paced, non-fiction books about dead missionaries are okay to read to her snoozing, mind-wandering class, because SHE likes them. But fun, fast-paced fantasy novels like Ted Dekker or Donita K Paul are FORBIDDEN because SHE doesn't like fantasy!

Boring word-searches, and "games" that require sitting at a desk, reading and writing are okay, because they're "school related" and she LOVES that! But games that we like, meaning fun, high-energy games that require movement and socializing with each other are forbidden because she says "we don't have room" for those games and she REFUSES to move into a bigger classroom because there're no desks or tables for us to do our "bookwork" and we HAVE to do our bookwork!

Honestly, if you want your special needs ministry to grow PLEASE DON'T TREAT IT LIKE SCHOOL! Treat it like you would a normal Jr. High or High school youth ministry! Don't talk down to your students. Avoid anything school related. Play lots of high-energy, youth group style games. Play contemporary rock music.

Treat your special needs group like a normal youth group and you will see LESS drop-outs! Good luck and god bless!

Thanks for sharing. I pray with you that you will be able to share some of these things with the teacher so she can do better at teaching you on a level that you learn best. Blessings.

Thanks for the prayers! I appreciate it!

Yes. Blessings. Prayer makes the difference.

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