5 Hidden Reasons Kids Aren’t Learning in Bible Class

We are constantly sharing the things we have learned that can make a Bible class more effective. We want kids and teens to learn as much as possible when they are in your Bible class and to enjoy that learning experience. There are some hidden reasons children and teens often have trouble learning, however, even during the most engaging Bible lessons. You have no control over these situations, but sometimes there are things you can do to lessen their negative impact.

  • They are hungry. It’s difficult to learn when you are hungry. Lower blood sugar levels can also leave students feeling tired and as if they have no energy. In extreme cases, hunger can even make their stomachs hurt or make them feel dizzy with much activity. You may assume this only happens in homes that struggle to afford food, but rushing to get to your class can mean meals are skipped entirely – even in homes with plenty of food. Providing a healthy snack can stabilize blood sugar and increase participation. Stay away from sugary foods like doughnuts, focusing instead on “Bible” snacks like rustic bread, dried figs and dates, etc. (Check for food sensitivities before providing any food to students.)
  • They are tired. Whether they stayed up too late or your class is at the end of a busy day, students may come to class too tired to feel like participating. This is one of the hardest areas to mitigate. Often, the best you can do is to encourage parents to put their kids to bed earlier the night before. In some cases, a small snack can help a bit, but if they are really tired, there’s not much you can do.
  • They had a family argument before class. Rushing to Bible class often means extra stress. Stress in some families leads to arguments. It’s difficult for some people to quickly switch from a family disagreement to being happily engaged in your Bible lesson. Taking the time to warmly greet students and giving ones who are visibly upset a little time to calm down can help. Of course, engaging Bible lessons may eventually help them forget the argument entirely, but the argument can mean it takes a little longer for them to relax and engage with it.
  • They are stressed or anxious for any number of reasons. If your Bible students are overly worried about something, it can distract them from even the best of lessons. If the stress is widespread…say at finals time…it can be best to lean into the stress a bit during your lesson. Talk about what they are thinking and feeling and gear your Bible lesson towards how God wants to help us with those emotions or how He wants us to behave when we have negative emotions.
  • They are either beginning to feel ill or are just getting over an illness. If your students can’t breathe because their noses are congested or they are having a coughing fit every time they talk, engagement in your Bible lesson is difficult. Sometimes the medicines they are taking can have side effects like tiredness. In these situations, sometimes the only thing you can do is to make them as comfortable as possible and provide tissues or a glass of water so they don’t disturb other students with their symptoms. Of course, your ministry may also want to have a health policy in place encouraging parents to keep students who are contagious at home.

You can’t always control the reasons your Bible students may not be engaging with your Bible lesson. Understanding some of these hidden causes, though can help you better analyze what happened during your class and help you make more accurate adjustments to maximize student learning.

Categories Classroom Management
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