I was asked this question many times as a teacher and I have asked this countless times as a student. Really, why would we need to study Algebra or World history? How will this apply in real life? Do I really have to know that there are mammals who lay eggs or how fast the speed of light is? I mean, I want to be a computer programmer someday, surely, I don’t need this info right?
This is a normal classroom conversation. When students are unmotivated or not interested in a lesson, they tend to question why it matters or why they need to study a topic which is obviously not applicable in real life.
There are ways to counter this belief.
First, connect it with a life goal. Everyone wants to be successful in life. A gentle reminder that successful people do what they have to do until they can do what they want to do. Tell the students to take the lesson as a challenge.
Next, share with them Steve Job’s speech about connecting the dots. In a commencement exercise, he said that you can only connect the dots by looking backward – examining your past. True, it might not make sense why you have to study statistics now, but it would make more sense in the future.
Use humour. I don’t like history! Yeap, you might not like it but you have to pass it and graduate, right? Or shall we forget about the graduation?
What about you? How do you approach this situation? Share in the comment box below.