A rant on boredom in schools

In pursuit of efficiency, and likely as an extension of our behavioristic and cognitivistic paradigms,  most classroom designs actively strip away the bodies, genders, cultures, histories, interests and calling of each child and demand of them to follow an impersonalized trajectory of learning created by politicians and publishers. Everything in learning science stands against this. If we take up an embodied, social-cultural, situated, narrative, place and community perspective, we realize that schools need a radical reform – one that mentors and challenges, begins with value and curiosity,and is willing to trust that folks want to learn and will learn “good” stuff. This lack of personalized education easily leads to a lack of curiosity and therefore boredom. By stripping a learner of their individuality, we have removed their drive – we are making them play a game that has only one ending, live through a spoiled story. This is a most-grave of crimes. The mind of a learner is an incredible force when their curiosity is fueling the fire. A mind wasted, just going through the motions, is a grotesque sight. Our heart sinks when we see a child’s body wasting away due to unclean water or poor nourishment for their body. I submit, that crimes against the mind are as great of a concern. Our systems, policies and economics are attacking the mind of children. This is as bad as poisoning their water.
Boredom is not only about destroying an individual, it is also a disrespect and avoidance of the world itself. Look up into the heavens and try to comprehend its magnitude in size, energy and complexity. Look now into the smallest things, from a few grains of sand, made of countless atoms bouncing about but bound to one another by unseen forces. The world is full of WONDER. To teach chemistry or math or history in a way that does not wonder is to ignore reality itself. To “know” that y=mx+b is not to celebrate the motion of a baseball thrown during a game or the power of hyperbolic bacterial growth. It is an insult to countless persons who have discovered these fields of study (as well as God himself) to strip our classical studies from their contexts. Our fields of discipline mean to reveal and celebrate the wonder of the universe we live in. Anything less is not education, it is wasting time, and wasting away life itself.

2 thoughts on “A rant on boredom in schools

  1. But what can we do about it? In high school i remember a few teachers trying to do something new, but it always ended in failure because the teacher didn’t know what he was doing, or the course wasn’t rigorous enough.
    Also there’s always that “pillow” that all teachers can fall back on. That is doing what you’re supposed to do: Describe the math formulas on the whiteboard, answer the students’ questions and correct the tests. That’s what teachers are trained and paid for.

    I was so, so disappointed with school when i was younger, but eh i turned out okay, found my interests and such.

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