10 ways to foster a love of learning…

1. Show that you’re a learner too

Share things you have learnt. Tell your students about PD and conferences you attend. Invite their opinions on things you have read for your own interest. Never talk down to the students. Be part of the learning community.

2. Encourage creativity

Give students opportunities to create in any way they like. Have them create original expressions of their learning through a variety of  web 2.0 tools. Let them draw, write a song, make a film, create a cartoon or record a podcast. Put a camera in their hands for recording and expressing learning.

3. Make it meaningful

Make connections to their lives. Encourage interpretations that make sense to them. Create for an authentic audience, by publishing online through blogs, wikis and other web 2.0. Don’t set chores, don’t hand out worksheets, don’t assign work… create motivating learning experiences.

4. Flatten classroom walls

Don’t confine learning to the classroom. Bring the world in. Collaborate online with kids in other places. Use Skype for global connections.

5. Demonstrate your passion

If you aren’t enjoying the class, neither will the students. If what you do bores you, it will bore them too. If you clearly love it, they will too! Interact with other educators online to fire up your enthusiasm.

6. Respect your students

Don’t expect the same from every student. Make sure every child knows that you know where they’re at. Don’t imagine any kind of standardized tests will tell you that. Listen to their conversation and value their thinking. Show interest. Know every child’s story.

7. Provide variation

Don’t fall into the habit of doing things the same way all the time. Come up with new ways of practicing skills. Share ideas with other teachers. Get ideas online. Get ideas from the students. Surprise them. Use different tools and formats and approaches. Plan for multiple intelligences and different learning styles.

8. Implement inquiry as a stance

Encourage students to explore, question and wonder. Invite them into a new topic with a strong provocation that inspires curiosity. Provide opportunities for them to play with possibilities and investigate in a variety of ways. Help them make connections between different areas of learning. Focus on concepts and big ideas.

9. Play games

Find games online and offline. Get kids to move around and play physically. Play thinking games. Invent games and let students invent games. Make sure every game has a learning goal. Make the learning goal explicit to the kids. Make it fun!

10. Encourage students to be responsible for their own learning

Tell them they are! Give them choice. Don’t make all the decisions.  Encourage goal setting and reflection.  Create a culture of thinking. Talk less. Step back and hand over control…

Please add to the list!


 

42 thoughts on “10 ways to foster a love of learning…

  1. Wonderful list! Another that I would add would be:

    11. Don’t judge
    Everyone expresses themselves according to their own experience. Just because you might not understand it, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not valid. Grant students their worth in their own context.

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  2. Excellent Post. Here’s an option I would consider adding:

    12. Make it OK to Fail
    Realizing that some of our most enlightening learning moments come from our failures is a great way to make learning safe and get students engaged.

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  3. 14, Model how to “Unlearn”
    In this day of constant change, we often make assumptions and perceptions based on our own experiences or opinions. Sometimes we learn later that the facts may be different than we originally thought. So adopting an attitude to Unlearn, Learn & Relearn when appropriate is a key to success.

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  4. 16. Be willing to get dirty. Sit on the floor with them when they’re working. Be a part of the collaboration. Be there. Besides modelling & learning, we build connections with them as people.

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  5. 17. Provide suggested paths and guidance, so that exploration is fruitful. It’s tricky. You don’t want to constrain and choke, but neither do you want them to get lost and frustrated. As we move towards more independent learning and reference, we must think more about way finding and how to support it.

    this is nice. Wonderful to stop in the middle of a day and think about this.

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  6. I like #12 – Make it OK to fail, except I don’t think there are failures in learning – every experience teaches you something. So, if you make a mistake, or the results are unexpected, you have learnt something new.

    #19? Make mistakes – let students understand that you are human too, and it’s OK to make errors – nobody’s perfect! Be gracious when somebody questions or corrects you – Admit you’ve made an error. Use humour to get over it and move on.

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  7. This is a great list!

    20. Encourage questions – especially “Why?” – and “I don’t know” as a response.

    This really belongs with your #8. Showing students you don’t have all the answers, (even if you do) can help you lead them towards critical thinking skills and places they can go to try to find answers.

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  8. Awesome list Ed! I am loving #8-10
    I feel privileged to be #20 :)

    #20 Collaborate
    Offer your students opportunities to work together as a class, but also to connect with and work with students outside of your classroom. Perhaps in a different school or different country. Show them that learning is global.

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  9. This is probably covered in #5 & #19, but…

    #21 LAUGH. (At yourself, and with your students.)
    Throw away the idea that a good teacher never smiles until October. One of the best teachers I’ve ever had was never hesitant to sacrifice his own dignity for the sake of learning. Whether it was singing loud and off key a silly song to help teach the oceans & continents, or playing with a puppet that represented an endocrine gland. The lessons were silly, but memorable and demonstrated his passion for teaching and making learning fun for his students.

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  10. 1. Ask them to show you that they know….in their own words and in their own way.

    2. Involve them in creating their own rubrics for their assignments and projects. They need to know what constitutes acceptable and superior performance.

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  11. Lots of great ideas! Another that is sorely lacking in our current approach to education is CRITICAL THINKING. Not just allowing students to think critically, but demanding it from an early age. Healthy arguments that require convincing others or defending your idea are real world skills.

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  12. I like #8. Give them opportunities to teach themselves, figure out complex problems, and discover new or related ideas. They need to learn how to learn; a critical 21st Century skill.

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  13. Really love the responses on here, what a great list! I think it is so important that we are “humble” and show that we don’t know.
    In fact, when preparing for something, leave some things unknown to you on purpose, learn with the students, it really makes a difference.

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  14. #26 at last count – Capture that feeling when we realise learning has occurred. Highlight the feeling that we cant buy, let students feel the power of learning. Bottle it and sell it to others. Learning will begin to flow. Learning becomes infectious.

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  15. Love #12 -don’t be afraid to fail and #20- Laugh! In my classroom full of 8 year old boys those are two essential elements! Great post, Edna! Your blog is always thought provoking and engaging.

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  16. Great list. Here are a couple more:

    27. Encourage curiosity – people who are curious are continuous natural learners. This could be related to #20 Ask Questions.

    28. Provide Reflection time and support – we are all busy and constantly moving on to the next thing. It’s important to make time to reflect on what you are learning.

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  17. I lost count of the great ideas posted here to foster love of learning. I would add a new one, differentiate. Each student is a different person with his/her own strenghts and weaknesses that should be taken into account. Some of them should be encouraged to go further than the curriculum expectations and others need support for their specific difficulties.

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  18. Lots of fabulous ideas in this list! Mine might be similar to others…

    #Enable students to share/demonstrate their new learnings in a variety of ways that reflect their passion, interests, skills and talents

    #You create the learning climate your classroom – implementing ideas listed here is the way to do it!

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  19. 35. Have fun.

    36. Meet them over half way. These students are digital learners and must be taught in the “style and language” they know. Do your homework and imagine their world. Find ways to adjust your lessons to meet them in that “world.”

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  20. Sir Ken is right. Finding their so-called “hot button” is the key. My brother, John, taught English at an ALC for dropouts in Minneapolis. One kid came to his “learning packets”-organized class and slept through the hour, which was OK with John, as you got your credit when you completed your work.

    One day, as the student was stirring, John asked him if there were any books that interested him. “No,” he said, “but I’d like to write one.”

    And, with some help from John on how to use the computer and software, and learning packet resources, some weeks later, the book was done, printed, and a book-signing reception was held in the classroom. Punch, cookies, many visitors and a proud, young author.

    The last I heard he was working on a sequel. Oh, by the way, he earned his English credit, too.

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  21. Great responses, everyone! Thanks for adding to the list. Some of yours overlap with some of mine and others are new… either way it’s fantastic that so many educators took the time to stop and think about how to foster a love of learning.

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  22. love this list. Want to repeat the choices and also add (what number?) learn how to persevere and struggle- our kids need to struggle through a problem and we need to learn how to help without enabling.

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  23. Playing games online, #9, makes my head hurt! However, if you want to see middle schoolers totally engaged, I know tea hers that are masters on whole class games. One of my favorites is adapted from the TV series Survivor. Teams collaborate to answer review questions prior to the high-stakes EOG test. The game is complete with pre-recorded theme music and tropical props decorating the room. The event is promoted weeks in advance to build suspense and excitement. Online game? They play enough of those at home! IMHO, games are far over rated, but my years of teaching high school science with a State end of course test jaded me greatly!

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  24. But what if they just don’t want to listen to you or the teacher or even the man of tje house. What do you do then.

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    1. Take control. Be firm, set boundaries (kids need them!) and stick to them, make it clear what’s not acceptable, have appropriate consequences for unacceptable behavior… Above all be very consistent.

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