Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So interesting. Two blogs on boredom popped up on my Twitter feed at nearly the same time.

The first has my favorite quote ("It's harder to change a school than it is to move a graveyard.") and goes on to discuss the fact that schools in their structure and appearance have remained largely unchanged from their beginnings in the early 1900s; this also includes the content being taught (the canon, the major sciences, the lockstep progression through levels of math) and the role of the teacher (repository of all knowledge and the only authority in the classroom). Even as standards change, as technology and society evolve, the classroom remains in large part unchanged, a "penitentiary of boredom."

The second takes another tack, beginning with a story of problem-solving the task of teeth brushing (how no kid likes to do it and generally does it less often than they should and/or poorly). The distinction between learning by lecture and learning by doing is made thus:

"Think about the driver and the passenger in a car, " says Adele Diamond, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia nad one of the founders of the field of developmental cognitive neuroscienec. "The driver is hands-on and the passenger does what students normally do, which is sit passively in class. The driver will learn the route better because [s/he] has to actively use the information."

Pretty much how it works.

Change the structure to suit the times and involve kids in their own education. Simple, right?

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