Breaking News: Kids Bored in Class!

28 02 2007

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A majority of U.S. high school students say they get bored in class every day, and more than one out of five has considered dropping out, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The survey of 81,000 students in 26 states found two-thirds of high school students complain of boredom, usually because the subject matter was irrelevant or their teachers didn’t seem to care about them.

“They’re not having those interactions, which we know are critical for student engagement with learning,” said Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, who led the annual survey by Indiana University researchers.

Half of the students surveyed said they had skipped school without a valid excuse at least once, and 22 percent said they had considered dropping out. More than half said they spent an hour or less per week reading and studying.

Yet, three of four students surveyed said they expected to earn a high school diploma and go on to college. . .

UPDATE – I just ferreted out the full study, see comments for link (and more comments!)

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7 responses

28 02 2007
misedjj

I can’t remember the last DAY I spent less than one hour reading and studying, and nobody makes me or pays me to do it. Gee, maybe the IU researchers would like to investigate the hypothesis that these are related??

28 02 2007
misedjj

Here are some cool ideas and quotes about “open-sourcing knowledge” instead of hoarding and controlling it as School tries to, with the predictably poor results we can all by now recite in our sleep, from a blog called “logic + emotion” that I found through the tag feed — let us know what you think, if you do get a chance TO think about it. 🙂

28 02 2007
misedjj

The annual results come out in a report titled “High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE): What We Can Learn From High School Students” — the most recent one online in pdf format is HERE but I now realize that it is last year’s. The brand-new one from the press release and Reuters report is not available at a link yet — you have to contact them and request a copy.

When this instrument was first conceived in 2003, the website reports that it was the “first-of-a-kind national survey aimed at finding out how connected teenagers are to their schools and to learning.”
The results at a cursory glance seem very similar to me.

This caught my eye:
“• More than half (52%) of the students had not discussed ideas from their readings or classes with a teacher outside of class during the school year. Only 15% had frequently (often or very often) had such conversations.”

Wow, 15%?? That kind of discussion and idea exchange is our LIFE around here. Maybe unschoolers should start thinking of ourselves as “superschoolers” instead . . .

28 02 2007
epimetheus

Oh, highschool.

For the most part, I was bored because we moved too slowly. The biggest problem in my (recent) experience was the range of personalities and learning styles that had to be accommodated in the same class. I guess it was a case of trying to please everyone and pleasing none.

I guess a partial solution might be small, more intimate classrooms and teachers with the training to engage all kinds of students… but I bet that would be prohibitively expensive.

All I can be sure of is I’m glad I’ve moved on 😀

28 02 2007
misedjj

Other results say that boys are even less connected than girls, and having an afterschool job makes interest in grades/schoolwork fall even further. Seems to me we could just cancel school but buy every kid a computer and high-speed Internet access and a set of Harry Potter books, maybe send them on a trip abroad when they are 16, give them dance and music lessons if they want em, etc. — heck, buy em a pony or Segue or car! –and society could hardly do WORSE by them.

I saw a snatch of something on cable news last night, about girls in prison who were learning salsa dancing and were amazed at how interesting and engaging it was to learn (anything!) just because it was fun, not because the Man was forcing it on you for your own good. But “taxpayers” predictably were grousing because these kids were already past school and into the overt penalty phase of their lifelong institutionalization, and it’s not supposed to be pleasant, much less fun! Harumph!

Btw, fun Latin names! 🙂

5 03 2007
epimetheus

There are definitely too many credit requirements in the name of creating “employable workers”, so every student has to take three math credits, for example, and four english credits. Someone who wants to be a car mechanic probably doesn’t need four english credits, and doesn’t want them either. Students are forced into difficult courses for little short-term or long-term gain.

The legacy of a decade of neo-con government. On the bright side, I’ve heard that some of the damage is being undone now.

Thanks about the name. It’s a bit of self-depreciating humour, calling myself the god of after-thought 😛

5 03 2007
misedjj

Tempting as it is to lay what’s wrong with School at the feet of some particular political group — one could as easily blame the heavily Democratic teacher unions for ever treating inspiration of the young like blue-collar time-clock factory jobs — I fear we all were part of these systemic problems and so will need to be part of discovering and creating sustainable solutions. 🙂

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