The act of not learning can be most evidently noticed through boredom. When one is bored, one does not learn. Boredom impedes on a students ability to learn because it indicates a lack of motivation to internalize the material. However, a student’s boredom does not necessarily reflect poor teaching methods on the educator’s part-thought it can-it can also be caused by numerous other factors. External factors such as a social issue or internal factors such as a learning disability are possible reasons for boredom.
Despite such external and internal impediments to learning-which will be later discussed-the teacher can attribute to their student’s boredom by executing the “spatula method”. This method presents the image of a teacher shoving a spatula down their students’ throats; this is a metaphor describing the way in which a teacher may force information upon their students. As discussed in class, it is important to avoid this method in order to ensure critical thinking. And as much as we would like to choose what our students obtain from our lessons, we should not. Rather, it is more effective to teach a lesson and allow the students to receive the information in their own way.
The teacher can guide their students’ thinking in a specific direction, but should not tell the student what to know. Guiding the students’ thinking in a specific direction can be achieved through asking questions. Questions allow the student to formulate answers that are more similar to the intended purpose of the lesson. This way, the student can make connections and engage with the material in a manner that interests them. Since each child is different, the lesson may provoke slightly or drastically different thoughts from each one of them. While encouraging students to explore the material and make their own connections, they are making new experiences and learning. Furthermore, the teacher may even have the opportunity to learn something new from their students. Thus, by using the spatula method, and being the enforcer of information as opposed to the facilitator of information, the students are not learning. Consequently, the student may become bored, because they are not being challenged to exercise their mind.
An ideal example of how a child may feel bored when they are not intellectually challenged can be seen from the article by Adam Philips, “On Being Bored”. Philips interviews an eleven-year-old boy and asks him, “what would happen if he allowed himself to be bored” (Philips, 70). The boy answered, “I wouldn’t know what I was looking forward to” (Philips, 70). This quote illustrates how boredom can be similar to the feeling of despair. If one cannot build anticipation for a lesson or understand the value of what they are going to be being taught than there is likely not going to be a strong motivation to receive the information. This lack of interest results in boredom. However, boredom can be due to other factors irrelevant to the teacher’s educational methods.
Problems outside of the classroom environment such as a family issue or an argument with a friend can impede on a student’s ability to learn within the classroom environment. A student who is affected by external issues may reveal themselves to be bored; and in this case, their boredom is not necessarily due to a lack of interest but to a distraction. When distracted it is difficult to pay attention. If a student is fretting over a personal conflict, their participation in the classroom may dwindle. Nevertheless, a disengaged student, or bored student, is not necessarily a “bad” student.