You have spent extra time and some of your own money planning a special activity for your Bible class students. You are excited because it’s hands-on, experiential and has a strong, meaningful connection to the Bible story. You know the students will enjoy it, understand your lesson better and remember it for possibly years to come.
Except, one of your students doesn’t want to participate. You can tell the child isn’t trying to be difficult, but is reluctant to participate – almost to the point of a melt down. What happened? Why is this child so reluctant to participate in something that is obviously so interesting and engaging?
There can be several reasons why a student may be reluctant to participate in an engaging, hands-on, meaningful Bible class activity.
The student may be shy or introverted. Often students who are shy or introverted prefer to watch other students try an activity first. Once they feel fairly confident they can participate without embarrassment, they will join in with the others.
The student may have an aversion to something about the project. Perhaps they don’t like getting their hands dirty or they can’t tolerate the smell of one of the items. Finding out what the aversion is can help you adapt the activity slightly so they can participate.
The student may be slow to warm up to something new. These students are similar to the shy and introverted students. If they can watch others participate for a time, they will usually join in before the activity ends.
The students has special needs. They may need extra help understanding instructions or doing some of the things required in the activity. Giving them extra time or a special helper can make it easier for them to prepare.
The student may not feel well. Sometimes students want to go to class so badly, they won’t admit they feel horrible. When it is time to be active though, they just don’t have the energy to do it. Others may lack energy because they didn’t sleep well the night before or didn’t eat breakfast. Addressing their physical needs if possible, can help.
Getting frustrated and angry with reluctant students can make the situation worse. Taking the time to help them address their issue will allow them to participate and learn from your activity. It’s worth a little extra time and effort.