As a parent, have you ever wondered about your child’s unwillingness to learn new things? Have you ever thought about why the joy of learning is gone?
Help your child regain the kindergarten passion of embracing learning with joy.
Rekindling Your Child’s Enthusiasm for School
Connect your children to what they learn at school through their interests and past positive experiences so they will WANT to learn what they HAVE to learn.
Where did the joy of learning go?
When school stops being fun, all too frequently, learning stops. Help your child retain that kindergarten enthusiasm of embracing each day with the joy of learning.
Children who appear lazy, oppositional, inattentive, scattered, unmotivated, or inseparable from their social media may not be making voluntary choices. Their brains may be responding to the stress of sustained or frequent boredom.
We know that for most children, kindergarten is anticipated with awe and enthusiasm – especially when one or older siblings are already in school. There certainly can be anxieties, but they revolve around fear of leaving a parent or the security of the home environment.
The idea of being a student is exciting. Most kindergarten or first-grade students speak passionately about what they learn and do in school. Then, as years progress, burdensome memorization, and test preparation are emphasized at the cost of diminished discovery, inquiry, and project-based learning. As school stops engaging children’s imaginations, boredom and frustration replace joy, and learning stops.
Students currently in public high schools in the U.S. are more likely to drop out than ever before. When the reasons for dropping out are examined, almost 80 percent of the students report that the main reason is boredom. When asked what bores them, the most frequent responses are that the material they are taught is either uninteresting or has no relevance to their lives.
Want to know more about bringing back the joy of learning? Read Kids Activities at Home: Ways To Keep Kids Busy Without Much Screen Time
The Stress of Boredom Blocks Brain Traffic Flow
Neuroimaging and other research tools continue to yield more data about the brain’s response to stress including sustained or frequent boredom. This comes at a time when boredom is increasingly problematic; as school funding and teacher performance ratings are increasingly tied to test performance. Consequently, there is more time dedicated to repetition, drill, and testing of facts that have no clear personal relevance or value to children.
Cutting edge neuroimaging research reveals significant disturbances in the brain’s information processing circuits in stressful learning environments. Information communication is blocked in these stress states and new learning cannot pass into memory storage. The “thinking, reflective” upper brain cannot downward regulate to direct behaviors, which then become involuntary.
Here’s what happens. The amygdalae are switching stations deep in the brain’s emotional limbic system that are stress-reactive. In the stress state, such as with prolonged or frequent boredom, the metabolic activity of these emotional filters increases. When this happens, the ability of the amygdalae to direct input to or from the thinking and reflecting brain, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is limited.
In the normal state, without high stress, the amygdalae allow input from the senses (what we hear, see, feel, experience) to reach the PFC where it can become long-term memory. The PFC is also the control center that, in the nonstress state, sends communications down to the rest of the brain to consciously and thoughtfully direct our responses, choices, and behaviors.
During high stress, the amygdalae block communication with the PFC and send input to the lower, reactive brain, where memory is not constructed and behavioral responses are no longer involuntary control. This is the involuntary fight-flight-freeze response to stress or fear in all mammals – in humans: the act out, zone out, drop out behavior reactions.
Brains Keep Track of Effort That Doesn’t Pay Off
For many children, the stress response to boredom and low personal relevance builds year after year when they do not find learning interesting or relevant. When children’s brains develop negativity to school, the stress state limits their voluntary control to sustain attention in class, do homework carefully, and persevere at challenging classwork.