Why don’t some children like to study or don’t enjoy some subject?

I failed in 5th grade

I studied in an Engish medium school till 5th grade. I was very weak in studies during those years. I would fail in every subject except Hindi and Marathi language. It was only my tuitions with my class teachers that got me till 5th grade. Finally, I failed in 5th grade because my class teacher will not do the tuitions. My parents started sending me to Marathi medium school from 6th grade. Suddenly I could understand what teachers spoke in the class. When I followed what was said, I was having fun in learning, and I loved the subjects and the whole learning process. I was soon competing with toppers and eventually became an engineer. So what happened when I changed the language of my learning? It adjusted the difficulty level of the subjects to my understanding level.

Learning and Studies

Let’s understand Learning. I feel Learning is when we want to know more of something and like exploring it. Now, if the subject is too easy, then we get bored and look for other exciting items. If the subject is hard, that means there is some difficulty in understanding as I had in English medium school, we get disinterested (bored) in that subject. All of us have this window of ‘desirable difficulty’, where any topic can remain interesting for us and learning happens. The Study is the efforts I put in my process of acquiring knowledge. I want to put these efforts if I find the subject interesting, that means as long as the subject is with the window of desirable difficulty.

Your child’s brain has a bend

As Dr Arlene Taylor says “Your child’s brain has a bent and not a dent.” We all have an inclination towards certain subjects. That’s why we love challenges in those subjects, and we may not like other topics. Unfortunately, schools have limited subjects, and our brain has many dimensions. Hence it is entirely possible that the school may not have appropriate subjects according to our bend. In that case, most likely the child is going to hate studies and school.

How to teach?

Here is what parents and teachers can do, first: Understand the child. Ask, listen, and observe about child’s interests. Next: Encourage the child towards her interests. When we encourage the child towards her interests, she finds interest and tolerance towards other subjects also. We can also try to link the child’s interests with other subjects. Like if the child likes football, then ask her to write an essay on football or his favourite player. Finally: for other essential subjects, find the child’s desirable difficulty window. That means find the difficulty level of that subject stays interesting for the child. The exciting thing about the desirable difficulty is that it has to be a moving window, that means over the period, you have to keep increasing the challenge level to keep things interesting for the child.


Here is another article I wrote sometime back about (revised version) Five ways to teach children

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