Saturday, July 12, 2014

Overcoming boredom in education

Engagement is a hot topic in education these days.  While sometimes hard to quantify and oftentimes lacking consensus in definition, engagement is important to monitor and improve.  Today I started reading The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact by Michael Fullan and right there in the opening chapter he describes how both students and educators are bored in school.  Unfortunately, I agree with him.

The stats he offers are sad, disheartening....
"Two thirds of initially happy kindergartners become alienated from schooling by the time they reach grade 9. (Jenkins, 2013) Teacher satisfaction has declined 24 percent since 2008, when 62 percent reported feeling "very satisfied;" within five years only 38 percent were saying that (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 2013).  Meanwhile and not unrelated, 75 percent of principals  feel that their job has become too complex, half of all principals feel under great stress "several days a week," and the percentage who say they are satisfied with their work has dropped from 68 to 59 since 2008."

But it makes me wonder.... how do we address these, how do we change the stats for the better?

For today, I'm thinking about our students.  Personally, I've always believed that classrooms need to be active, engaging, fun places where students are anything but passive.  I love hands on projects, making students wonder, hooking them with a challenge or tapping into their interest areas.

Recently some new strategies have been on my mind that help address this too...things like The Maker Movement, Genius Hour, Project Based Learning, and Inquiry Based Learning.

What changes do you see that would help hook out students, engage them and make love coming to school to learn?