Do you wonder why kids hate school? Why their typical answer to the question is, “Because it’s boring!”?
As we began our coaching session, Reggie (not his real name) made it clear that he was bored with school, that he didn’t need to study for his up-coming year-end exams because he already knew everything, and that he wasn’t pleased that his mother had arranged this session. His question, “How long is this gonna take?” said it all!
I needed to understand the root of his strong feeling about school so I asked, “Why do you hate school?”
“It’s boring!” he responded.
“What do you mean when you say boring?” I probed.
“It’s no fun!”
Happily, our session ended on a positive note. I deemed it an uneasy victory—I had won the skirmish, but not the war.
Reggie is a bright Fourth Grader whose quick, active mind jumps from one thought to the next and back again. Between thoughts he answers my study questions—he actually does know everything with at least 80% accuracy.
Not only is Reggie’s mind flitting like a butterfly from idea to idea, he cannot sit still. He fidgets, squirms and finally gets up out of his chair and moves about the room in perpetual motion. (Yes, Reggie clearly displays ADHD symptoms.)
As I carefully observe Reggie, I think to myself, “Little wonder Reggie is bored at school!”
1. Children are naturally different.
That’s obvious. But in school, children are expected to conform to a singular, standardized mold. There’s little room to be different.
Part of Reggie’s ADHD “gift” is that his mind works much faster than most of his classmates. He catches on quickly and gets bored waiting for the others to catch up. Reggie acknowledges my prognosis with a wry smile.
2. Children are naturally curious.
Children love to explore and investigate. But in school, a prescribed curriculum and schedule are imposed upon them. There’s little room to spontaneously pursue piqued interest.
Reggie’s mind flits from one point of interest to another not so much aimlessly asspontaneously. A study question reminds him of something else—sometimes related to the question, sometimes not. After a brief discussion, he easily returns to the original question and answers correctly.
3. Children are naturally creative.
Creative expression of their uniqueness and curiosity affirms children’s self-esteem. But in school, methodology—appropriate questions and accepted answers—is predetermined.
Is Reggie typical? Not necessarily.
Each child responds differently to the “un-naturalness’ of school. But, given the opportunity to be different, curious and creative, children will feel differently about school.
Children thrive when they are encouraged to be responsible, to make choices and to take ownership of their learning process.
Question: Will kids like Reggie ever like school?