Saturday, July 3, 2010


via Joanne Jacobs, Bored in school and summarizing.
High school is boring, say two thirds of students in the 2009 High School Survey of Student Engagement.
# 41% went to school because of what they learn in classes.
# 23% went because of their teachers.
# 30% went because they enjoy being in school.
In related news, 79% of those who were interviewed at home last Saturday afternoon said they were bored, leading the Society for the Prevention of Childhood Boredom to recommend that home life be changed ("Reformed") so that kids could be stimulated constantly with creativity and intellectually stimulating projects.

Mothers who participated by purchasing the Home Boredom Reform Toolkit reported that they had taken the kids out for ice cream and had a "wonderful, fulfilling time." After further interviews, the teenagers' boredom response rate changed to 93.2%, most saying "Going for ice cream was SOOO boring."

Mothers who participated by buying a lawnmower, lining up a few potential customers and then letting the teenagers create a lawn-mowing/general yard work business with absolutely no further input from either parent reported that the teenagers didn't seem so bored anymore. The teenagers themselves couldn't be interviewed because they were out earning money or out spending that money on their car, their date or going for ice cream with their friends.
Students who are thinking about about dropping out say they don’t like the school, don’t like the teachers or don’t see any value in the work they’re asked to do. Students said they wanted chances to be creative at school. Most dislike lectures and like “discussions in which there are no clear answers.”
In other news, adults who don't like their jobs or who were just laid off in a nasty recession were encouraged to go back to school. There, they could take courses that improved their job prospects or trained them for a new career. Poofy courses and touchy-feely courses that discussed the feelings of the students are to be avoided. Writing, grammar and basic math courses are the recommendation, followed by computer courses and science. History and languages are also good. Avoid classes that are geared toward sparing the feelings of the students. Look instead for those that offer lots of useful information, delivered in a compact and efficient style ... like a lecture. Not a boring and monotonous one of course, but one delivered by a teacher who knows his stuff.
The report looks at schools that are trying to engage disaffected students.
Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, has focused on building relationships between school staff and students. . . . According to the principal of Kealakehe, Wilfred Murakami, there is a perception that people love the school and that most students participate in school activities; HSSSE data revealed that actually just about half of the students say they love the school and, similarly, about half participate in school activities. The principal uses the data to raise important questions with his staff: “What about the rest of the kids? What are those kids doing?”
In a final bit of related news, The American Center for Conservative Liberal Studies in Education and Life in General has just released a study saying that teenagers who answer surveys in class report that answering surveys is really boring. Comments added at the bottom include, "I really wish we could just learn things instead of taking these ridiculous surveys." and "Great, another f****ng survey."

And that's why the Curmudgeon isn't a big fan of this type of "data-driven" school reform.


  1. I love that I signed to be the Entertainment Director and Social Director when I thought I was here to teach math.

    I tell them I am not here to entertain you. They tell me they're bored - I smile THAT smile and say I can fix that.

    My own children learned - quickly - that saying "I'm bored" does not get them what they want.

    GREAT post. Pat yourself on the back!!

  2. Boy, we NEVER told my mom we were bored. She had two answers:
    1. Then you are not using your brain.
    2. So I will give you something to do that will relieve your boredom--go weed the garden, mow the lawn, paint the porch . . .
    Not my job to entertain this lazy,
    Sesame-Street, Halo generation.