Ways to reverse school boredom

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  • Carolyn Sharette Sandy, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 10:24 p.m.

    Achievement level grouping and rigorous pacing - you are exactly right Steven! They are the answer to boredom. At American Prep we have found that kids LOVE to work REALLY HARD - they love to be given great challenges that test what they are "made of" and they love to work to achieve success. And success motivates them to continue to work hard.

    When you are busy doing all that, there really is no time for boredom!

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Dec. 4, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    We use ability grouping in Charter schools and many district schools. Ability grouping works wonders to overcome boredom as does a brisk instructional pace.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Dec. 3, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    Bravo Mom of 8!

    The reason why we don't "ability group" is because we are so afraid of "hurting self esteem". This was the school of thought for many teachers trained to teach in the '80s. It is that we must preserve at all costs a child's self image. I agree that we should not hurt children...that is not the point. However, I think that ability grouping actually helps students feel successful. Making the brightest students wait destroys their ability to engage in classwork, and moving children ahead who are not ready to makes them 'give up'.
    I wish there were more innovative thinkers in public ed who were not scared of being sued, or were not afraid to go back to methods that work.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    Dec. 3, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Kids and teachers have known this for years. The difference between students and teachers' enthusiasm between 1st grade and 8th grade is palpable.

    Why are kids bored?

    --Classes are FAR too long. Cut the time in half, have teachers deliver the material succinctly, then kids do the work at home.

    --No time for that? Sure there is. Fully half of each day is wasted in discipline issues, paperwork, and just sitting around waiting for the bell to ring. Be a substitute for a day if you don't believe me.

    --Kids are forced to be in classes above and below their levels. We need to group kids based on abilities, not ages. It hasn't worked for 100+ years, why should age-based education suddenly succeed now?

    --Give kids more options. Not everyone is going to college, not everyone needs algebra or biology; if kids want to pursue a necessary and practical trade, let's get them in a school that caters to their individuality. If kids want college, shift them into schools that accommodate those personalities as well.

    But, we won't do any of the above, because change is too hard.

  • The Dixie Kid Saint George, UT
    Dec. 3, 2013 6:23 a.m.

    High school ruined reading for me, I was incredibly bored with the required reading I had to do. Books such as Hamlet, Scarlet Letter, etc, may be classics but they were awful to read during my HS years. I would have benefited more by reading newer and more exciting books.

    Dec. 3, 2013 12:34 a.m.

    I was excited in school, then grew mostly bored, then grew excited again in college. I played sports in High School and College, but I have always thought the U.S. culture doesn't pay enough attention to those achieving academically and it seems to have only gotten worse since my school days.

    I think it would help students a lot if we could turn that around and cheer on academic achievement, even more than sports' achievement. Many more children have an opportunity in school and life to be successful academically than those that will be successful in sports.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Dec. 2, 2013 10:18 p.m.

    I think we should allow for two tracks in school, just as they do in other countries. One track for the college bound, and a track for those interested in the trades. If we could get this type of system going, you would see less goofing off in class in the upper grades, and more engagement among parents for the lower grades.....seems like it would be a win, win situation for everyone.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Dec. 2, 2013 10:13 p.m.

    As a public education teacher, I think there are many factors involved in student engagement. Part of the picture is the teacher's lack of enthusiasm and part of the puzzle is the use of too many video games and other media at home. I also believe that we have gotten way to "soft" on kids. Educators have focused far too long on preserving a child's ego and self-esteem, and focused on testing results WAY too much. (Our state has even decided to "up the ante" by wanting results through even more testing with the new SAGE system, which will test our little darlings three times a year instead of once a year.) When will we stop the madness and let teacher's teach? I would love to be able to take the time to enrich lessons more fully, but am either dealing with a 30+ student classroom, student's who have ADHD and blurt out or get out of their seats, have emotional problems stemming from difficult home lives, and/or working on referrals to resource. (Which is yet another FEDERAL program that is full or red tape.)

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2013 7:54 p.m.

    As a longtime teacher, I think some of the "boredom" comes from the constant stream of flashy media that today's kids are exposed to. Compared to the latest and greatest video games, most teachers would seem "boring." The intensity of today's world is such that doing common, ordinary reading, writing, and math would seem dull by comparison.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Dec. 2, 2013 7:22 p.m.

    Disengagement during middle school and high school is a symptom of a disease called puberty and adolescence. Once this disease runs it course, they amazingly recover just in time for those exciting college lectures.