And we wonder why kids tune out

7 02 2014

When we’re in charge of everything in our classrooms; when we’re not letting kids explore; when kids don’t get to have choice and voice; when we’re not letting them have their hands on the technology, on the learning; when we’re over-blocking websites and tools; when we’re using front-of-the-room technology; when we’re overly busy over-protecting them; when we over-help them; when we know better; when we’re the experts; when we tell kids to sit still; when we tell kids to be quiet and listen to us, day after day after day…

this is what it feels like:

"When is it going to be my turn?"

“When is it going to be my turn?”

And we wonder why kids are tuned out.




8 responses

8 02 2014
paul bogush

Why are your kids not paying attention?

Suppose the answer to that question might be all that is needed to judge a teacher.

8 02 2014

Paul. I can get behind that. And regardless of the answer, I’d like the follow up question to be, “so what do we do about that?”

Because it might be too easy to blame the kids. Or their parents. Or society. Or tests.

Regardless of the blame answer, the next question has to be, “what are we gonna do about it?”

8 02 2014
paul bogush

So your question is really, “How do we get people to see that they are the problem?”

Require all teachers to complete the work that they ask there kids to do. Require all teachers to sit and watch a full video of their class. Have students tell teachers what it is like in their classroom, again, again, and again. All can just be once-in-awhile.

Ask prospective teachers to show an image symbolizing what school was for them…if they show a picture like the one above, hire them.

I think we need teachers to publicly state to parents what school should be, could be, would be with their help. I see the biggest roadblock to changing teachers behavior is simply not knowing any other way. It sounds so silly, especially to “connected” educators. But to many teachers who cannot think beyond their script simply have no other tools at their disposal, and when wizard teacher comes in and shows them their newest wham bam holy exciting lesson idea, it is so far away from where they are that they cannot even imagine going there.

Sometimes I think about starting a new site, I would cal it “Pretty Good Lessons.” All lessons that I do/did that are the bridge from your image above and

Familiar with teh show Chopped? Yesterday we did a Chopped-Social Studies Edition….so far from worksheets.

8 02 2014

HA! Are you kidding me? I LOVE those ideas.

And I especially love the…
“Ask prospective teachers to show an image symbolizing what school was for them…if they show a picture like the one above, hire them.”

When I was hiring teachers for our “push the envelope” school, those with perfect resumes got put into their own pile — that I never looked at again.

As for stating what school should be, I’ve done that a lot. I find that admin does a great job speaking in platitudes, but when pushed to actually say what kids and teachers would actually be DOING, to visualize what a classroom looks like, too many (for my comfort) falter.

Likewise, I had a teacher once who said that a kid who is “actively listening” to her lecture is an active learner. I…I had to take a moment before I responded. Teachers, at least the ones with whom I work, for the most part, don’t say those things. For the most part, they know what a class should look & feel. They just want permission and help getting there. 🙂

But you’re right. Those perfect, ideal, pie-in-the-sky lessons are beyond any frame of reference for those who aren’t readily open to truly engaging kids.

I get eye-rolls by big-name PBL’ers for my recipe cards because they’re too “schooly.” I intend for them to be a stepping stone. But even that stepping stone is too much of a reach for many.

8 02 2014
paul bogush

Somewhere in the first 60 seconds is your answer:

8 02 2014
paul bogush

And the last five seconds…

8 02 2014

Oh, look at you hooking me into listening to a MUCH longer piece by telling me that all I have to do is invest 60 seconds of time. 🙂

The point is great and this conversation is barely starting to infiltrate the bleeding edge groups of education, let alone the majority of envelope pushers.

And it may as well be delivered in Greek for those who are traditional classroom teachers, who respond with, “This has nothing to do with my classroom.”

How do I know they respond that way? Because I’m talking with some of them who are actually game to hear this, but barely even touching the edges of his point.

It’s not on their time?

23 02 2014
Sunday Saloon: What I’ve Been Reading Online 2/23/14 | kelseyempfield

[…] I loved Ginger’s hilarious short piece, And We Wonder Why Kids Tune Out. […]

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