This article out of Harvard looks at the trend of students being increasingly bored as they progress with their schooling, as they get older they are less engaged. It attributes this mainly to how these students are being taught, commenting that there are ways to engage kids with little excuse not to.
We know in the age of inquiry and design thinking that there are meaningful ways to plan out and execute schemes of work to tackle lack of student engagement. Although despite this, and no matter what we do, there are always going to be students that are bored, period. It is nature. It is human. And to be frankly honest, it is good.
Bored youth have changed the way music sounds, changed the way art is created, changed the way we speak, changed social customs, changed how we interact with technology and the world. Boredom propels us forward.
Ok, I better stop here and say I am not advocating a force fed style education. No, I believe in inquiry and engagement, as a performing arts specialist I would be somewhat hypocritical, and a lousy teacher! But what we have to acknowledge is that some students will always be bored if not in your class, somebody else’s.
This monotonous activity called school that they endure provides opportunity for the mind to wander, abstracting thought and making meaningful connections. It will spur them to connect with other like minded individuals. While the students that are engaged will hopefully be being led through processes to find connections and abstract thinking activities as well but the results will be different.
Maybe it is possible to engage all and still provide the rebellious artistic output that characterises certain genres and generations. Although, I find it hard to picture learning environments with 100% captivated attention leading to powerfully music about disenfranchised youth who are misunderstood.
Boredom has its place. Boredom is a breeding ground for creative exploration. It’s is a launching pad for invention, reflection and inquisitiveness – because we look for ways to understand the world through our own eyes, and just entertain ourselves.
“A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase.” – Bertrand Russell (philosopher).
Let me reiterate, we should not be lazy and look to bore but we have to recognise that it is human condition. Some youth will always resent systems and authority. I just hope that boredom goes towards a positive outlet and if I can help direct it I will, but maybe I’m just getting in the way?