How Build Interest in Anyone About Anything

But First, Rice Farmers in Alabama and Thailand

Situational Interest, Personal Interest

1. The 1st Phase — Attention

2. The 2nd Phase — Agency — Power — or “Why?”

If the student has to ask “Why are we learning this?”, the teacher has already failed.

  1. Finding a Power that is Valuable — The power or agency that you frame to students has to be valuable to them. If you suggest that learning arithmetic will help them in 10 years to balance their check book or “get a good job” — they don’t care, no one, not matter what age, can care about something so abstract and so far in the future. Give them a superpower immediately that they value. Memorizing Alexander Pope’s poetry is probably less of a superpower than memorizing the lyrics of their favorite musical artist, start with the musical artist and then move to Pope later, maybe even years later.
  2. Ordering Learning Activities for Interest — Much of what is taught in schools is severely out of order for the development of interest. Often concepts are chunked and scaffolded for their conceptual and semantic order, with less abstract foundational concepts taught first and more abstract dependent concepts taught later. Chunk and scaffold information for interest development. Start with what is most attention grabbing, then move to what gives the most agency, then move to what is challenging. Once interest is more anchored as a personal interest, the learner will be driven to face the boring complexities of a particular subject.

3. The 3rd Phase — Encouraging Coach

4. The 4th Phase — Challenging Coach

5. The 5th Phase — Peer Mentoring




Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.

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Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.

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