800px-Sleeping_studentsI don’t think there is a teacher in the world who hasn’t heard this question in one form or another. As cheeky as it ‘may’ have been intended, I still think it is a fair question. There are many reasons people are motivated to learn, but most can be boiled down to either interest or need. Children are no different, though whether or not they will need the information in the future is a little harder for them to determine.

Teaching interested children is easy but for those that are a little harder to crack, relevance is the key. If children can see that the subject matter relates to their life, it may increase their interest and if not, at least it will help them to see its usefulness. Try to embed your lessons in a real-life context whenever possible and preferably in the context of a child’s life. Children work on a different timeline and trying to get them to appreciate that they will need this info 15 years from now doesn’t mean much. Let’s be honest, would that mean much to you?

Even as adults after we have been trained to think into the future, do you really plan 15 years ahead? We are all busy with our lives and no one wants to take on more than we have to. Again children are no different, though their idea of busy may include computer games, jungle gyms and soccer training rather than lesson plans, yard duty and what to make for dinner (when you’ll have time to make the kids lunches)!