Teaching Techniques: How to Manage and Develop Student Interests and Hobbies

The student’s interests are oftentimes the mysteries that every great teacher would like to know, understand, and develop. Why so? Because these sparks of curiosity play perhaps the most significant role in the actions we take, in decisions we make, and the reasons why we prefer something over something else. Shortly put, the interests are the drivers of motivation, and motivation is the key to personal and educational success. So, how can the teachers manage and nurture the students’ interests and hobbies and help them succeed in their field? Let’s review some useful techniques and insights on the topic.

Many Interests, One Student

Every teacher wants every student to be deeply interested in their subject. And we get why. However, the hobbies and interests don’t include the academic subjects only, and the examples of them are endless. They can be tattooing, essay writing, doll sewing, pottering, coding, blogging, shipbuilding, or else – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg named “Interests and hobbies”. And you know what’s amazing? That one can admire and get inspired by many activities at the same time. This is where the teacher is needed to help one implement these interests into motivation and action, keep a student in focus, and create positive conditions for them to pursue their goals. Below is the list of proven strategies that the educator can use in school or college.

Teacher’s Guide to Developing Student Interests and Hobbies

Be Attentive

It might go without saying, but sometimes the teachers tend to notice only something related to their study. But it shouldn’t be that way. In your class, you will most likely have people from various backgrounds, motivation levels, and interests. Sometimes, that won’t be your subject, but if you’re attentive enough, you might recognize the ability of one to write essays like nobody else, or to nail the discussion on any subject and turn it into a quality scholarly paper, or to sketch like Leonardo. And it might be your encouragement and suggestions to push the person to proceed with something they’re naturally good at.

Search for Parallels

Understanding one’s interests can help a teacher to persuade a student to have a second look at their subject as it might enhance one’s performance in their already chosen field. For example, if you’re a teacher of Math, and the student enjoys drawing and doesn’t show any interest in your subject, you can show how solid math education can make him/her a better painter. What’s the trick? Geometry, for example, will develop their perception of forms, symmetry, object placement, and spatial relations between things. And this subtle understanding can make them become a better visionary.

Provide a Different Experience

Many universities and schools choose to focus on classical education with lectures and homework. However, it takes courage and extra effort from the teachers to make the learning process interesting for those who have everything at their fingertips. If you teach essay writing, let say, you probably have a lot of friends who make money with writing. Invite these writers and let them share the hands-on experience of how this particular skill can influence one’s career and where your students might need it. Believe us, that could have a better impact than hearing about the importance of writing well from you. Sorry.

Create Curiosity from Conflicts

This one is from psychology and it says that to make one experience the emotion of curiosity, one should create a situation of conflict. Basically, you need to collate incoming perceptual inputs against existing information via novelty, complexity, uncertainty, or conflict. It can be juxtaposing the old and new knowledge on the subject, or showing how everything is related, or challenge them with doubt, or show the multiple ways to solve the same equation.

Educate Parents

Many interests are formed from what the student sees at home. Talk about that with the parents and ask them what their kid is interested in and share your observation. Together, you can come up with a plan to nurture this curiosity.

Teaching isn’t about the academic subjects only – it’s about helping one develop the natural skills and strengths to succeed in life. We hope that these few tips evoke your curiosity about how you can become a better educator for your students and help them enjoy their interests.

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