Can Boredom in the Classroom Enhance the Learning Experience?
Eastwood, John D.
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There is a lack of evidence for the claim that experiencing boredom (in the classroom) negatively impacts attention and academic performance. The authors of this chapter argue that boredom can enrich the learning experience in three ways. Firstly, students’ boredom serves as a signal to teachers that learning is no longer occurring. Thus, this signal prompts teachers to modify elements of the learning environment so that students can successfully re-engage with course content. Secondly, since boredom is an aversive state, individuals are motivated to reduce their boredom by focusing their attention on an activity or subject matter. It is in this manner that boredom may enable an individual to become interested in a topic they have never explored. Thirdly, boredom can motivate students to re-engage with course content if they respond adaptively to the boredom signal. For example, students can utilize cognitive approach strategies in which they alter their perception of boring material to make it more appealing to them.
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