By Josh Freeman at May 12 2019 18:24:35
Never allow boredom to set in. We know now that when learning is fun and exciting, the brain is actually growing many new dendrites that make connections with many other dendrites. The more connections the better. We also know now that boredom destroys dendrites. Small children quickly become bored with worksheets, especially skill and drill worksheets. Yet another reason to avoid skill and drill worksheets like the plague. Never allow your child to use a worksheet unsupervised. Some parents use worksheets to provide time to fix supper or add another load of laundry. Unfortunately, while you aren't looking, your child just might have practiced a mistake several times. The time you thought you saved isn't nearly as much time as it will take to fix that mistake.
Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don't understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what's needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student's frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that "I'll never understand math." A cute image or a "fill_in_the_blanks" riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let's face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.