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Purpose in the Lesson: Finding Reasons for What We Are Learning

It’s almost time for that final bell to ring that will free you from your desk. The last thing you’re thinking about is the purpose of the lecture. That pesky seconds hand on the clock seems to be pecking away at the time slower than usual. The history teacher’s lecture sounds like the perfect lullaby. Your brain is thinking about what new TV show you should start next because there’s so many to choose from. Then you hear a magical word that shakes your brain awake: “test.”

You would have paid attention better if you knew the lecture would be covered on the test. However, you are supposed to be paying attention regardless. Finding motivation to stay on task or listen in class is difficult for many students. This is true particularly for a class that you don’t have any immediate interest in. This is why it’s important to find the purpose in the lesson.

Finding the Purpose

Ask yourself this question: why are we learning this? There won’t always be a clear purpose as to why you’re doing something or learning a particular lesson in school. Sometimes you have the create that purpose.

For example, what exactly is the point of geometry proof tests? If it’s not directly helpful, then you must be flexible in finding a way that the activity is meaningful. Geometry proof tests are an exercise in problem solving. Your brains is working to search for the answer based on certain rules. The more it exercises, the stronger it gets. It also helps with emotional control because solving Geometry proofs can be frustrating.

Questions to help you find purpose in the lesson:

  • How does it help you directly?
  • What can you relate it to?
  • What skills does it improve?
  • Can this lesson help you learn about yourself or others?

Make Connections to the Lesson

Think about how you can connect the lesson to your life. Connect it to what interests you, current events, or the people around you. This will make it at least a little interesting, and guide you to find a purpose for the lesson. In addition, engaging in the conversation is also beneficial. Ask your teacher questions and clarify your understanding to make further connections.

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