This can happen for many reasons including the following:
- The task is dull
- The child does not have the skills, knowledge, or concept to complete the task
- The child may not know how to break the task down
- The child may not know how to ask questions to lead his/her work
- There may not be enough support or available materials
- The task may not be scaffolded well
- The task may not match a child's needs or interests
When working with large groups of children, this issue sometimes arises for teachers. So, what's a teacher to do when one or more students resist the work assigned.
First, educators have to look deeply at the tasks--are the tasks too dull, overwhelming, or without needed support and materials?
Next, educators have to specifically observe children's behaviors--what are they doing and saying?
Recently I've noticed that this task aversion sometimes happens because of a lack of stamina and positive, "I can do it" attitude. This may, in part, be due to the fact that for some tasks are too difficult more often than they are just right. That can happen when the program expectations far outpace a child's readiness for the curriculum. When this happens educators have to look deeply at the needs and better scaffold expectations, supports, and teaching.
Once the learning activities are better tailored to the individuals, then educators can begin to develop better attitudes, stamina, and study habits.
A need for a more progressive approach to teaching is the needed next step in learning environments. Current grade level standards can stand as a wall to good learning for some students given the distance they have to go to learn those expectations.
I believe that better intake efforts, early assessments, and curriculum objectives at the start of the year can set the stage for better learning, accessibility, attitudes, stamina, and study habits for the rest of the year. As educators we will never get it just right every day for every child, but we can continue to work with our colleagues, families, and students to do this as much as possible.