Boredom in Class? Try 'Outrageous' Instruction
We will not make much progress in achieving educational equity until we develop better approaches for dealing with student boredom and resistance. But student access to on-demand entertainment has made it harder than ever for teachers to interest their classes—members of the YouTube generation—in what they are being mandated to cover. The old standbys of telling students they have to know it because it will be on the test, or making it “authentic,” that is, trying to convince students they will need to know it as adults, have little effect on many students. They are not adults and may be rebelling against adult ideas.
I decided to tackle the problems of student boredom and resistance when I supervised student-teachers at the University of Arizona. Most of my student-teachers were placed in low-achieving, high-poverty urban middle and high schools.
Even as my student-teachers grew more skillful in managing classrooms, presenting content, and maintaining discipline, their students remained listless in class. Lots of time continued to be lost to the typical student whining. And, to be honest, I was bored by the lessons myself. The student-teachers, too, were disappointed that their students were not hanging on their every word or exhibiting a thirst for knowledge. They quickly scaled down their expectations of what teaching could and should be. Student apathy and resistance had...
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