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Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Best School for Bored Teens

The Best School for Bored Teens

The greatest waste imaginable is a bored student mind. Here is a child ready to learn, eager (hopefully still) to learn, in a school setting, and bored. Something is very wrong with this picture.

The best school for bored, and perhaps not so bored teens, is one which constantly challenges them. Instead of teaching the curriculum to the middle majority, the school focuses on teaching each child, encouraging them to go one step higher, no matter what the subject or challenge. Instead of teaching geometry from a book, the teacher gives the class a project or problem and lets them work on it at each separate level. Through collaboration, sharing final solutions, and guidance from the teacher you have an immense amount of learning happening and no one is bored. Also no one is lost. For though we all have strengths, we all have weaknesses, too. Even the brightest brain can encounter concepts that just don't compute easily.

The whole key lies in the way that the classroom is envisioned and organized. Many teachers, seeing a class of active, noisy students see only chaos. I see opportunity and growth. I am not speaking about the free schools of the 1960's for our school is founded on a strong commitment to the basic skills that children need to succeed in life. Communication (through literature, writing, art, computers), organization (through math, essay writing, reports), finding themselves and their place in society (through science, history, civics), gaining self-confidence and self-expression (through art and the challenges of each day to explore another facet of their world). Work ethic, morality, justice, and compassion are on-going as students and teachers work out ways to meet the needs of all and to encourage the strength of both the individual and the group.

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