Five Good Ways to Bore Students

Student lore is clear—school is boring. Ask almost any student to verify this. How was your day? Boring. What do you think of school? Boring.

So, if you want to live up to expectations, here’s what you can do:

  1. Keep students answering questions, not asking questions. It’s when students ask questions that they realize how little they know. And this could set them on a path of inquiry with the potential to hijack your lesson plans.
  2. Overuse the same tools. If something works, use it over and over—assign questions from the back of each textbook chapter, provide slide notes for students to copy, depend on a few key students to keep class discussion on track. If you use only proven tools, you won’t have to deal with the risk of trying something new.
  3. Don’t give breaks. Standing, stretching, and water fountain visits wake students up and get their brain neurons firing. You might have trouble settling them down afterward.
  4. Stay behind the podium. If you perch on the corner of a desk or if you sit in a discussion circle, you may be tempted to reveal your heart, to show emotion in front of students. This could cause trouble for you by making you vulnerable to them.
  5. Limit student interaction. One of the best ways for students to learn is for them to think and then speak and listen to each other. But this shifts attention and control away from you.

Students won’t have so much fun, doing things this way, and they won’t be as engaged. But you should have your classroom well under control. And, after all, this is what students expect.

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