TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    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
      • thumb
        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!
      • thumb
        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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.