Monday, January 25, 2021

Busy Work

In The trap of busy in Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

“Busy is simply a series of choices about how to spend the next minute.

Productive requires skill, persistence, and good judgment. Productive means that you have created something of value.”

Too many times, students are given busy work. This keeps them busy so that they are not sitting idle.

Unfortunately, students are aware when they are given busy work.

When I was a beginner teacher, I tended to give busy work. I felt so overwhelmed with planning and paperwork, I just needed time to do some of this while the students were busy doing something else. As long as they were busy, they were not usually having behavior issues. The ones who did have behavior issues did not want to do the busywork.

Once I realized that I needed to rethink “busy work,” it made all the difference in the world.

I needed to think about my lesson and the purpose and relevance of the lesson. If I couldn’t figure out the purpose, besides busy work, then it would not be relevant to my students. If it wasn’t relevant to them, then I shouldn’t expect the students to invest time and effort into doing the work.

Once I had a real purpose, I needed to make sure that my students understood the purpose which makes the lesson relevant to them. If they realize that the lesson is relevant to their future, whether immediate or long term, it can start to mean something to them. If they feel that they could benefit from the learning, they will be more willing to put effort into the work.

When students feel that they have time and effort invested in their own learning, they will be more engaged. Sometimes I also learn that when the students are engaged, I’m more engaged with them. I realize that this is what makes teaching fun and worthwhile.

When my students are fully engaged in a lesson that they know is not busy work, I realize that the lesson is successful.

How do you avoid busy work for your students? Please share.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

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