• Question: How do we gain the attention of children who don’t even seem to able to maintain eye contact? Not because of attention disorders but because of lack of interest/engagement? Maths is particularly difficult for one of my boys.

    Asked by tyrrellt to Yvonne, Rebecca, Matt, Lucy, Liz, Gaia, Brian on 2 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Matt Dunn

      Matt Dunn answered on 2 Mar 2018:

      Lack of engagement can be due to a lack of confidence, especially with subjects such as maths which are easily perceived as hard, the best option is to help them develop self-belief, and once they are invested and committed with their own learnings and failures and have a bit more control over their own learning, you may get a more confident and committed learner. Working with their peers can also help, or helping them teach each other, as more information is retained when you teach it to someone.

    • Photo: Gaia Scerif

      Gaia Scerif answered on 2 Mar 2018:

      Building self-belief by working first with topics / props that are of interest might be a way to go. Bringing in areas of strength to show success and progress in what’s harder is a great start, and then as soon as a little progress is made, emphasise it (to then draw attention to how persevering – even just a little bit – got him farther? In “cognitive speak”, drawing attention to success and then to how determination / grit results in growth?

    • Photo: Yvonne Skipper

      Yvonne Skipper answered on 4 Mar 2018:

      I have always thought that creating tasks which are applied can really help students to engage. Perhaps find a problem in your school which requires some maths to fix. Depending on their age can they work out how many loaves of bread the kitchen needs? Or perhaps something to do with sports and angles? It is also great if you can have a ‘guest’ come in and explain the problem and come back for the solution. This link between classroom and reality can be very appealing for reluctant learners, helping them to see why the knowledge matters.

    • Photo: Brian Butterworth

      Brian Butterworth answered on 8 Mar 2018:

      I think we need more information about the disengaged boy.