Are You Ever Bored By Your Own Lessons?


Nov 08

It’s happened to the best of us. We teach a lesson because the curriculum guide demands it. But we don’t find the lesson particularly interesting and we have a hard time finding ways to make it engaging to our students. We just can’t seem to “sell it.” We get through the lesson but the truth is, we’re really bored by it and so are our students.

What Makes ​A Lesson Boring

What makes a lesson – or anything for that matter – boring is when there is little challenge, novelty, or choice. When you or your students feel that the lesson presents a challenge that is beneath their abilities, when they feel that the lesson presents nothing new, and when the lessons leave little options for students to own their own learning, your students and you are more likely to be bored.

The Antidote

There is a very easy way to never be boring again even if you are teaching something you find boring yourself. If you want to keep from boring your students and yourself, your best bet is to take that tedious lesson and give it a shot of rigor.

Now rigor has gotten a bad rap. In fact, many people think rigor and boring are synonymous. But, stay with me here because I’ve seen with hundreds of our clients, how teaching with rigor ensures that they are never bored by their own lessons.

That is not the same as making something harder or more entertaining. True rigor means that you engage students in learning to think for themselves. That means teaching them how to use the information or skills they are learning to:

  • Abstract patterns across information or sources
  • Analyze different perspectives on the same issue or problem
  • Classify information into categories or groups
  • Compare or contrast ideas, approaches, or concepts
  • Construct relevant support for their point of view
  • Use inductive or deductive reasoning to draw their own conclusions
  • Analyze errors in their own thinking or the thinking of others
  • Evaluate ideas and concepts

Want specific ways you can inject thinking skills into every lesson every day (without a bunch of extra work on your part)? Check out Connecting Extending Thinking which is full of practical and easy strategies to build thinking into any lesson no matter how boring.

When you do that, not only will your students actively engage in their own learning, teaching will be much more fun for you too. No matter what you teach (or how boring it may seem to you) rigor makes anything more interesting and more fun. Inject a little rigor into your lessons and you’ll never bore yourself or your students again. 

What To Do Next

The next time you are dreading teaching something that your students typically find boring, look for opportunities to integrate a thinking skill into the activity and see it come alive.

 For instance, my students used to HATE reviewing vocabulary until I injected thinking skills into the process. Sometimes we would use abstraction to detect patterns among the different vocabulary words. Other times we would use index cards to quickly classify and reclassify the words on the desk based on randomly selected criteria. The more I found ways to help students think during what was normally a boring review exercise, the more interesting even my most boring lessons became.

How do you help students think during lessons? Share with us below.​

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