A recent Gallup poll asked American teenagers to choose the three words that best describe how they usually feel in school. At the top of that list was “Bored”. That’s not all, because boredom in class is a global problem. Across 32 countries, nearly half of 15-year-olds said they often felt bored at school on average, according to an OECD survey.
School is something you have to endure? Really?
Saul Cooperman, retired teacher, principal, and New Jersey Commissioner of Education, pretty much hits it on the head when he says, "Teens could certainly be responding to society saying school is something they have to endure." Instead of a fun, engaging experience where students actually look forward to learning, school is all too often viewed as something that you just have to do. Well that’s not great.
Want to know how bored kids are in class? Just check out Twitter.
One of the most interesting things to look at during the school day is the Real-Time feed of being “bored” in school. New Republic put something together that shows bored tweets as they happen. As of this point, just since December 16, 2013 there’s been 114,000 bored tweets by students.
A more interesting thing is just a tap/tweet/post away.
Teachers are constantly competing with something out of their control, like what’s on Twitter or Instagram, or that Snapchat someone just sent. With basically every student having something way “cooler” to look at right in their pocket, it’s often hard for them to stay focussed. Isn’t there something we can do to get them to stop thinking about that next best thing? It could start with better social, collaborative tools for the classroom.
Can students be more involved in their learning?
A big reason why school is boring to many, is because it’s compulsory. Student’s don’t get to set the agenda of what they want to learn in a K-12 environment, but more importantly they often times aren’t as involved as they could be in the learning experience. We could make the organization of the class completely flat, and students could be much more active members in what they are learning. Blended and Flipped classrooms are in the lead here.
Involving all stakeholders into the learning experience.
We can involve all the stakeholders in the learning process. Teachers, you have the opportunity to let your students’ intelligence come through and empower them to engage on their own, and start learning with each other intrinsically through real experiences. One-way, unidirectional learning techniques driven by classic pedagogical approaches are on their way out here in 2014.
What can we do?
What if we could take down the walls between school and outside school. What if things going on outside school could be better reflected inside their school life. What if we could make learning happen at any time, because why does learning need defined hours or locations? When school ends why should student’s stop learning? You don’t need to be the funny, overly entertaining teacher for your class to be interesting!
We can start discussions, empower students to ask questions, discuss & share interesting educational content, and work with each other at anytime, on any device, using applications like Chalkup.