Is it more difficult than usual to engage students in learning during the holiday season?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Is it more difficult than usual to engage students in learning during the holiday season?

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A large number of teachers took part in this poll and an overwhelming majority of them agreed that it is more difficult to engage students in learning during the holiday season. This phenomenon probably crosses all age and gender barriers and includes all students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Age is a big determining factor in the way that students respond to the holiday season. Older students look forward to time off school, hanging out with friends, sleeping in, and attending holiday parties. Some of the more diligent ones may look forward to increased work hours and a bigger pay check. Younger students appreciate the time off school just as much, and perhaps increased play dates with friends, but ultimately the appeal is the holiday itself. Many families plan vacations during school break or seldom seen relatives may come for a visit. All these things combined add up to increased excitement.

Younger students in particular will be less focussed on school work and their teacher as the holiday approaches. Having a classroom full of 20+ nine year olds that can't sit still is certainly a challenge. Let's not forget about the added factor of holiday treats. Increased sugar consumption for many children from holiday cookies and cakes makes sitting still even more difficult.

Teachers sometimes plan thematic units incorporating the holiday season as a way to focus the student's excess energy. Giving them a way to use the holiday constructively means that learning still takes place. Group projects give students a chance to be a little more interactive and not spend quite so much time sitting at their desks. Often field trips planned around holiday events are an easy way to follow up with an academic unit while getting the students out of the classroom. Teachers have come up with numerous strategies to continue student learning during the holiday season.

There is no doubt that for most teachers the holiday season poses its own unique set of challenges. Don't despair, it will soon be over and before you know it excitement over summer vacation will begin.