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How do I Know if My Students are Bored?

Charline Mae Bolito

Teaching any subject can be a challenging experience, especially when your students are lacking interest. The classroom setting can be tricky to handle as it is, but when your students seem unenthusiastic and disinterest your job may suddenly feel like it’s more difficult. When students lose interest in the class activities and structure, it can affect their learning process. Many times when a student has reached this point, getting them back on track can be quite the chore.

In order to avoid such a situation from happening, how can we tell if our students are bored?

Sudden change in behavior

The best way for you to know if your student is bored is to observe his/her behavior. Chances are, if your student used to be active in your previous lessons and you start to notice significant changes, they’re starting to become disinterested and bored. A bored student is usually lethargic and disengaged in class and as mentioned above, this behavior can negatively affect their performance.

Once you notice the sudden change in behavior, you should be able to adapt to the situation. Students get bored easily when they have to listen for hours and they don’t get the chance to participate. Make sure that you allow your student to participate and use all four skills in class. Engage them in discussions by presenting controversial topics to the class, relate grammar exercises to real life situations, and use alternative materials like magazines, newspapers or online tools. Most importantly, allow yourself to improvise from time to time and don’t be afraid to put the textbook aside and teach the class in a more free and dynamic manner.

Bored Students in Classroom

Students lack focus

Unenthusiastic students will sometimes find it difficult to pay attention. In fact, they will just be pretending to listen, when in actuality they aren’t; they are physically present but mentally absent. Aside from these obvious traits there are other ways for you to notice if your student lacks interest.

Students who are bored obviously lack concentration, but some students might express this by acting a bit hyperactive or by constantly going off topic in a classroom discussion. Some students may even act out or try to draw attention to themselves during an important class activity (especially younger students).

Allow yourself to improvise from time to time: don’t be afraid to put the textbook aside and teach the class in a more free and dynamic manner

As a teacher, you should also be concerned about your students. If you notice that your student just can’t and won’t concentrate during class, you can have a talk after the lesson and ask if there is anything bothering them. There are cases where students have personal problems which can be a big factor in why they can’t concentrate on the lesson. Try to talk to them and make them feel that you are both a teacher and a friend. This helps you rule out boredom as the cause of their behavior and gain your student’s trust. Doing this also makes it easier for you to motivate and encourage them to do well.

Students are not performing well in class

When students are bored, it also followed by a drop in test scores, grades, and late submissions of assignments and homework. A student lacking interest in your class is less likely to be active and involved in the activities you give them. They do it half-heartedly which negatively affects their performance. They participate but only because they are obligated to do it, which makes it more difficult for them to absorb and understand what you are trying to teach them

To help your students perform better, why not try some activities that will challenge them? If you are handling a large class, create a group activity or a class debate where your students can work with their peers and integrate the things they’ve learned as a team. For one-on-one lessons, you could make the activities more personalized and you can focus on material and topics related to their hobbies, interests, or profession.

To become a great teacher, you need to entice your students to be participative and responsive in class. Before you can come up with a creative teaching method and approach, you have to carefully observe them. Once you start to notice that they are getting bored, don’t be disheartened. Find ways to get their attention and help them realize the value of learning.

How would you personally deal with an unenthusiastic or bored student? Share your thoughts with us; we’d love to hear from you!

About the author

Charline Mae Bolito is a Filipino blogger and a freelance English instructor. During her spare time, she likes to travel to different places and explore new cultures. She also loves rock music, baking, outdoor sports and reading classic books