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High school students 9-12 are bored to tears. I was bored to tears in the 50's, ask a student today and they too are bored to tears.

Teenagers need a challenge! Todays schools offer boredom and repeat of lower class information for THREE years. What a waste of talent. Let each student chose if they want to be college material or craftsmen. Let them graduate from high school with an Associates degree or certification as journeyman in a trade field. Let them see and feel the goal they are setting for themselves from the eighth grade on. How many brilliant students are left behind because they are not exposed to a higher level of skills while just young teens. This would level the playing field between those that can afford private schooling and those who could not even dream of private schools. When a person is so bored without a learning challenge, they place their energies into other extremes, (drugs, sex, pills for everything, etc.). These kids are not dumb they are Uninspired by our ho-hum attitude about what they need to know for the future. I also am concerned with academic individuals who feel they are not contributing any longer to the mental growth of their students. Let's help them by initiating rewards for innovation in teaching. These SAT tests are ridiculous and accomplish a lot of useless data. Kids have been lying on them for years as to their backgrounds. A good example is the old school question, "What did you have for breakfast, Johnny?" I always answered "Orange juice, cereal and toast with jelly". This was in the 40's, I was lucky to have had a mashed potato sandwich. Let's quit pretending that teens are not bright enough to understand what is going on and give them a real challenge that will produce a great future for all.

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    Gail .

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    Sep 25 2012: I hated school. From the first day of kindergarten, I hated school. I was bored out of my mind. I wasted 12 years of my life trying to stay awake. I only paid attention when it came close to finals, and then the challenge of catching up inspired me. I wanted to graduate early, having already earned the required credits, but my parents objected. Hence, I barely made it out of high school, though I nearly aced the SATs. (95th & 98th percentiles). I HATED school. I HATED learning.

    What was done to me via public education was abuse, and there is no other way for me to view it.

    But then, one day in the 80s, I discovered, quite accidentally, the joy of learning, and my life hasn't been the same since.

    Children are naturally curious. When we force them to sit in a chair and learn facts that everyone knows they will never again use in their lifetimes, we beat that curiosity out of them - to society's loss.

    In the US, the Dept. of Ed. is a subsidy of corporate interests. The mission statement says that it exists to prepare students for GLOBAL competition. (meaning economic competition)

    what is the US Dept of Ed doing encouraging competition? Supporting the military industrial complex? Placing $$$ above people?

    If education was about educating, we would have a lot of pretty smart people in America. Sadly, no matter what degree people hold, they are functionally uneducated. They have learned that once the paper is in hand, most learning can stop. Nothing could be further from the truth. That's when REAL learning can begin.
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    Sep 27 2012: Yes I graduated the faculty more than 10 years ago and Ican say now that a lot of my knowledge is there somewhere in my mind and I am not using it and maybe i will not use it and maybe sometime forget it if not already. I have worked for more than 9 years in my domain and really the faculty helped me a lot but most of the things i learned will never be useful to me in any way. Like you say during the courses sometime i get bored and get asleep in the chair and felt very exausted becouse of the void in the speaker presentation. This means the information that was presented there had no sustainability for me and I was conscious I make an effort to understand something that I will not use or with which I have no relayed knowledge. This is the biggest problem in universities from my point of view becouse we were treated at the same level and forced to learn things that maybe do not have future in our after graduation activities. Is good to have knowledge from a lot of directions but is better to learn naturaly and with pleasure so to enjoy the lessons we take from life becouse learning is part of our day by day activity. I was a lab teacher in faculty and the thing I observed is that students are opened to new way of presenting lessons and they are opened to teachers that can "get them closer to the table" so to make them active in the lesson and this way the dynamic of the class improve and everyone contribute with something to the lesson even in the "silence of their minds".
    • Sep 28 2012: You are so right, Julian. The more a student can participate in a learning effort, the more he/she buys into it and can find ways to apply what they have learned as a working part of the group to their daily lives. The more schools will experiment with "hands on" learning the greater number of students that will happily participate. To just sit and listen and try to comprehend what the subject matter really is, is very difficult. Most students just shut down. The more the student can be part of the lesson with the professor, the greater result for all. The student is rewarded with a greater desire to learn and the professor can learn a lot from the student. Thanks for your input. Vera
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    Sep 27 2012: This is exactly what i mean. when i pursue my interests online I feel like the world is changing, like we are on the boundaries of political change or scientific discovery. Especially on Ted. The world is changing, the game has changed and i'm still writing essays! I'm really looking forward to see how education will be changing in the next few years, I realise I am just at the start of something special. I mean the internet is in its infancy! Soon (i think this has already been said) classrooms as we have been used to will be obsolete. Information will be more accessible and so will the leading professionals. which means i hope, the kind of enthusiasm these teachers have for their fields will shine through and inspire students all around the world. Can you imagine the kind of things we will be able to create with some much information at our fingertips!!

    Thanks for talking to me Vera, sometimes I feel like i'm the only one saying this :)
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    Sep 26 2012: This is exactly how i'm feeling right not. I'm stuck at a university doing a course I chose and expected to enjoy and i'm slowly loosing interest. For some reason i expected more from university education but it feels so much like school. most of my lectures are uninspiring and just dull, frankly, which makes it difficult to concentrate. i feel like the information i do learn and find interesting is wasted because I forget it within days of writing that particular essay or sitting that test. And its all memorizing anyway, rote learning, and this is what we are rewarded for! i hope you dont think i sound arrogant, it just doesn't feel like there is anything imaginative going on, anywhere! that is until I watch TED videos. :)
    • Sep 27 2012: Vanessa, keep the faith, there are people like Robert Winner out there that are really going to change the system. Please read his comments, he is attempting (and I know he will suceed) to change our rote method of teaching into a pleasant and challenging experience. Nothing is worse than sitting in a lecture that the professor is too lazy to discuss openly and has you "listen" to tapes. This goes on all the time in many colleges. No life experience, just some old windbag expounding. I would expect if the students graduated from high school with an Associates or certification, they could improve their own capacity to learn more. The documentation is a necessary evil at this point. When things actually change there will be no sore backs from carrying too many outdated books and every student will be supplied with a laptop. A lot less expensive than the school supplying hardback books. Of, course we do know that the money made by these arrogant institutional leaders would be at risk. Time to get more integrity iinto the system. Keep on trucking though, that degree is so important as it effects the rest of your future. We need more dedicated persons like Robert and grants that support drastic changes in education teaching methods. .
  • Sep 26 2012: Ted lover, I would really like to know what was happening that suddenly made you realize that learning is fun and enjoyable. Was it a person, or an event? Learning should be pleasureable and all students should have the opportunity to express themselves in a mannerly way. Knowledge gives them this tool, and when a student is made to feel he or she doesn't quite fit in they do become rebels. I would like to see the establishment really get with life. Let the student excell as far as he can and encourage him/her to reach for the moon. Offering training for an Assocaties degree in high school proper of a craftsman certification in high school proper would give students a goal they can acheive. Tthank you for your input. Vera
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    Sep 25 2012: Education needs to not be viewed as a chore.
    • Sep 26 2012: James. I completely agree with you. Education should be fun and an enlightening experience. It should not be a chore that you dread. It needs to come across as an exciting adventure as you expand your mind and search for more information. Any suggestions as to how we can view education as an exciting endeavor?
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    Sep 25 2012: Vera, FYI it always heps to have the minimal info available to aid in composing a rational response. Since I(know nothing of you I will speak only of the United States. IMO schools at the K-12 are not about education or learning. They are about money. Schools are paid by seat time. One student is worth about $7,000 per year. Absences are subtracted from the money recieved. That is why perfect attendance is so honored. Colleges do not care if you attend or not. You pay for classes up front. Enough students select that class it is scheduled ... not enough not scheduled. Graduation requirements are set by state legislatures as recommended by the Superintendent of schools often not an educator (ours is a lawyer). Courses follow the guide of the bookmaker/text developer and tests are developed following what is available in the texts, again not educators.

    Begining this year teachers will have their evaluations based on the students grades, which almost guarentees cheating and teaching of the test.

    Do not blame the schools for the format, agenda, curriculum, or even your interest. Principals and teachers are left with few if any options.

    No one would argue that todays kids are not bright enough to do the work .... but if you were allowed to advance through the system rapidly then money would be lost ..... that, my friend, ain't gonna happen.

    All the best. Bob.
    • Sep 25 2012: You hit the nail on the head, Bob. The money issue is so true. How do we change our priorities to encompass greatness, learning, honesty and pride while feeding those at the trough? It is sad that the dedicated teachers cannot advance above the greed dictated by the establishment. Any suggestions? I appreciate your input.
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        Sep 25 2012: Do away with text developers/test writers/educational unions/etc ... and cease using the Bismark system of education form the mid 1800's. Develop 21st century tools for education. Devise a map of all available subjects from K - 12. Each subject shall be comprised of modules that define a specific outcome and the total of the modules would define the goal. Each module would be tested out of on a competent / non-competent exam. No module could be entered until pre-requisites were met. Students would progress academically at their rate of learning and maintain their class position to develop socially. It is possible that a 10th grader could achieve enough credits for graduation. In that case the facality would be affiliated with the local university and the syllabus approved to enter college level studies and be granted full course credits.

        This system would allow self directed studies for the quick learner and the time for a instructor to assist those who need assistance. In this casee the teacher is more of a mentor / proctor.

        There would still be labs and classes for music, band, etc ...

        That in a nutshell would leap us into 21st century educational process and perhaps resolve the issue you have presented.

        Further I would devise a two tier curriculum: 1) college prep, and 2) manual trades but that is another story.

        All the best. Bob.
        • Sep 26 2012: Again I agree with the two tier circulum but taken one step futher. The student would graduate with an Associstes Degree and/or a trade certificatio, journeyman apprentice. Get the shops for trades back in the schools where young people can apply their skills as they learn. The crafts persons could assist in the maintenace of equipment and the building and repair of vehicles and all appliances. The monies received from these skills could help defray the costs of the overall changes. How do you motivate the establishment to initiate change?
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        Sep 26 2012: I am working on the course map and modules. Also want the two tier in effect by next year ... almost had it this year. However, our teachers are certified by the local Community College and the credits are on their transcript. The weilding instructor is a union certified instructor and my son graduated high school as a union certified journeyman weilder and got college credits also. He entered the college with 90 college credits.

        The problem is to get the school to pay for the certification course with the college near you. For shop classes call the local union and see if they will cooperate.

        There are other problems like the teachers union and other considerations. Parents love it .... the administration likes it .... and the rest is about money and the union way.

        Good luck ... you are about to make a lot of enemies. But it will be worth it when you win.

        All the best. Bob.
  • Sep 25 2012: I'll be honest. I didn't like high school that much.

    I was one of the people who was in the bridge program. Took high school in the morning and college classes at night.
    All the autobody shop and woodworking classes are gone in high school .I took classes at college just for that reason.
    I think it was in the my sophomore year I started to doing it.

    I would rather take classes at college than high school
    • Sep 26 2012: What was different about attending college that made you enjoy the classes more? When you were in High School did you feel you were just marking time?
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    Sep 24 2012: I have known lots of kids who were or are not bored in high school and whose assignments include lots of challenging and thought provoking material. I have also known lots of kids who take college level courses at their own high schools or take a couple of courses during the school day at a local community college.

    And I have known lots of kids who were or are very engaged outside of school in service or pursuing their own interests. In fact, I have known kids who don't have enough time to pursue their interests.

    So I don't think boredom or the repetition of middle school content in high school are universal or necessarily even typical, though I am sure your observation holds in many places.

    This may vary by geographic location. I am most familiar with public high schools.
    • Sep 26 2012: Fritizi, what do you think the trait is that some students possess and others do not have? There has to be something in the makeup of a person that makes one feel bored to tears while the other is enjoying the moment. If we could key in on keeping the interest peaked then learning would be a pleasure. I realize that we cannot expect every one to reach the stars, but most persons respond to encouragement and maybe that is part of the answer. Vera
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        Sep 26 2012: There has been a lot of work on student motivation. One vital element is that students need to feel the connection of what they are learning to their lives and their concerns. Another is that the level of challenge needs to be appropriately pitched for the student. It should be challnging enough to offer a stretch beyond what students can already do. Too little challenge or too much are at once boring and frustrating.

        Also many disciplines involve some parts that are not inately intriguing. Students need to understand what the payoff will be of bearing with that content as a stepping stone to the good stuff.

        Those are some things to keep in mind.
        • Sep 29 2012: While this seems to be a little off topic from the original question, it can tie into the boredom factor that we often hear from students these days.

          Something else to keep in mind is that it's quite difficult to motivate students (and adults) who don't have the basic skills to learn what someone is trying to teach them.

          An example would be that student who has failed to learn his math facts, although he's in the same classroom with other students who can seemingly learn them without struggle. What often is overlooked in this example is that perhaps it's the students memory that is causing the failure. This student would begin to behave like they had no motivation, when in fact, they CAN'T remember them despite being 'taught' them over and over.

          Our world and way of living has changed and unfortunately, our education system hasn't.

          By fixing the weak or missing learning skills - which aren't taught in schools - before trying to teach academics, we would see an increase in student motivation and success as well as more satisfied teachers as they would know that what they are teaching is actually being learned.

          Teaching does not automatically mean Learning...that is the crack kids are falling through in our education system.

          Thank you for this wonderful conversation!
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        Sep 29 2012: Pamela, I have seen this also- that many students are at a great disadvantage for never having memorized the few math facts one truly needs to memorize to be able to follow along with most of what comes later. And I have seen students act bored as a way of camouflaging the difficulty they are having with the work.
  • Sep 24 2012: Hi Henry, I didn't mean to imply that you can't learn as you get older. Many of our learning skills come through experience. My concern is, I was bored through high school and we were lucky to have a telephone, let alone pills to make me not expound, so it's not the new gadgets, it's the curriculum. Too many administrators spoil the learning environment for teachers and students. One solultion is not to continue with out three R method once the student gets beyond 6th grade, but to introduce greater learning skills (higher academic and craft certification) to all students and give them real life experiences. I agree that our young people have too much too soon, but our exposure to smut via technology is just too great. Let's keep the teens concentrating on growth of their minds and skills where possible. School is the greatest learning tool they have. It should be geared to their future and hold their interest. Letting them graduate at a higher level than a "diploma" would assist them in reaching higher goals in life.
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    Sep 24 2012: I don't think we need to worry about time-frame or anything. I don't agree that we cannot introduce skills later in life.

    The main problem with children is we let them grow as they please.

    I am not sure how we expect a random state "a child's mind" to produce a desired outcome every time.

    I definitely agree skills need to be part of education, but should focus on areas like communication and team building.

    I also disagree that we have a number of unchallenged students. The information need not be challenging. It is presented to inform the child not build personality.

    Many of these students have no attention span because of cell phones and other social distractions.