eslHQ (
-   ESL Articles (
-   -   Teaching Students Who Don’t Want to Learn (

ArticleBot Jan 12th, 2006 04:50 am

Teaching Students Who Don’t Want to Learn
As educators, we know all too well how tough it is to get (or keep) our energy level up to teach students who sometimes don’t want to learn. I’ve even heard students describe teachers as being “a speed bump to a grade.”

It’s true that more and more students are not graduating from high school with the necessary skills to succeed in college (or in life for that matter). It’s also true that more and more students are taking their education for granted and not respecting the process and the institution of learning. However, these obstacles also offer us an opportunity to make a huge impact on our students.

One of the cardinal rules of teaching is that students will not believe in you until you first believe in them and what you’re teaching them.
As discouraging as some students’ attitudes are, nothing should negate the fact that as educators, we have an opportunity to take a closed mind and replace it with an open one. In essence, that's our number one priority…to get students to think.

Our jobs give us a great opportunity to get students to open their minds and challenge themselves beyond their limits. You’re not only teaching them basic skills, you’re teaching them life skills – skills that will impact them well beyond the classroom. Unfortunately, if you don’t believe this is true, neither will your students.

To get yourself in the right mindset for teaching, skim through the class objectives. Then ask yourself, “How could a student benefit from this material, now and in the future?” Obviously, if you can’t think of a student benefit, then maybe you shouldn’t be teaching the subject. If your belief in the subject matter isn’t strong, then you will have no conviction in the classroom. And we’ve all heard the saying, “When it comes to children, you can’t kid a kid.” Students can detect an insincere teacher faster than a fake I.D.

However, if you truly believe that the knowledge and information taught in your class will prove to be beneficial to your students, then take your conviction and passion and put it into class discussions, activities, and assignments.

The fact of the matter is, students will only care about your class to the degree to which you do (sometimes less, but never more). If you don’t care about a thing, that “thing” can and will become a burden on you. Likewise, if you teach that “thing” for the wrong reasons, you will become a burden on your students. And quite frankly, if a teacher doesn’t care, then that teacher shouldn’t teach.

RealWorld University
"Where Success is the Only Major"
phone: 850.212.0227
fax: 850.222.7752

Joe Martin is an award-winning national speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant. He's the author of "Good Teachers Never Quit." Joe speaks and consults for more than 50 schools and school districts across the country each year (delivering more than 100 presentations). His mission is to help students, teachers, and administrators learn, lead, and live with purpose and passion. Joe was voted "Speaker of the Year" by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities, and he's the host of the "Good Teachers Never Quit" radio show. He's also a columnist for the Gazette. To find out more, you can visit his web sites at and

For a FREE brochure:

mesmark Jan 12th, 2006 08:05 am

Re: Teaching Students Who Don’t Want to Learn
I'm starting to really like Joe! I think this is great and really hits home that you need to believe in what you're doing, what you're teaching and that it's important for the students.

Classroom presence is HUGE!

It's a short article but whole lot to think about.


christal Mar 22nd, 2006 07:41 pm

Re: Teaching Students Who Don’t Want to Learn
I'm a Chinese techerin a city near Honkong. In my school ,we try to speak as much English as we can to our students on the first day they come to the school (age 6-7 ). well, one third of them are excellent, they like english ,they can talk in English when they finish junior .However, one third are always behind others. They have no interest in learning English .They want to quit!And the otoher one third are hard working on grammar strucure, they like doing exercises to get good marks in exams ,though their teachers encourage them to speak more.They insist written work is better than oral.

marie777 Apr 7th, 2007 05:23 am

Re: Teaching Students Who Don’t Want to Learn
I agree with Mesmark, I'm enjoying your articles. I am a new teacher and I am finding what you have to say is useful and very interesting.

Eric18 Jun 15th, 2007 09:04 pm

Re: Teaching Students Who Don’t Want to Learn
Seems a bit superficial, but evidently some people have found this message useful. Few doubt that convinction and substance matter and Emerson remarked "the secret of education is respecting the student" over 150 years ago. Patience matters and great teachers might never give up the struggle to expand knowledge, but real world factors often overwhelm both students and teachers. Boosterism has a place, but dogmatism seldom works - even if given with the best intentions.

Educators, it seems to me, should remember Aristotle's analysis in mind: "Education is an ornament in prosperity, and a refuge in adversity."

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:36 pm.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2

Article powered by GARS 1.0 RC2 ©2005