The brain remembers information that is meaningful and linked to prior knowledge or experience. The brain wants to know that new information is important and will be used in the future (McGeehan, 1999). Teachers find students of any age more eager to pay attention and learn when the lesson content is of interest or relevant to them. Therefore, teachers are challenged to make new information interesting to the students and to demonstrate how that information is relevant now or will be in the future.
Making Content Relevant
Some content is so relevant we cannot forget it even if we wanted to. Your own name, for example, is awfully important to you—it would be hard to forget. Other information of life-or-death consequence is quite relevant as well. Once a child learns that fire can be deadly, reminders to leave a burning building are not often needed. However, the vast majority of information does not hold the same degree of relevance or interest to students. The teacher's goal then becomes to prove the significance of a lesson's content in the students' minds in one of two ways—by using instructional strategies that make the skills so interesting that they can't help but learn it, or by proving its immediate or future use so they feel the need to learn that knowledge or skill.
Using Interesting Instructional Strategies