JSS News 1.12.18
Click here for Gwen’s full letter.
BORING AND BOREDOM
As promised, I am putting finger to computer keyboard after many years of hearing from students, their families, my own children and from reading articles (some scholarly and some not-so) about the issue of “boredom”, particular for children in school. I certainly cannot pretend to analyze this subject to its fullest – I’m sure there are PhD dissertations that have done that. But I wanted to share some thoughts. I also WELCOME thoughts and experiences that you have in this area – we are all continuing to learn and grow in our responses and in our thinking on the subject.
First, what to say to your child when they say, “I’m bored” – at school or at home?
• This is a great conversation to have with your child! If you have had this statement from them, you’ll probably know that sometimes they want to engage in a discussion and sometimes they don’t. My experience tells me that sometimes they say it just to get a response from you, sometimes to get attention and sometimes a genuine concern – and it is important how you respond. I recommend “partnering” with your child’s teacher and saying “Oh, I wonder what’s happening in class when you feel that way? Have you let your teacher know how you’re feeling? I know that your teacher wants to you like learning and enjoy the (whatever activity/subject) so I’m sure they want to know from you how it seems. Is the work too easy? Is it too hard? Is it not interesting to you? Are other students in your class feeling the same way? Are other student in your class happy with the (activity/subject)? Please tell me what it looks like when you’re feeling that way.”
• Depending on the age/stage/personality of your child, I think, will depend on how comfortable your child is in letting their teacher know how they’re feeling in class. If they’re not, you can propose meeting with the teacher to let them know your child’s feelings. When students are older, we often propose that you, your child and the teacher meet together to try to figure out what’s going on. The most important point here is that it’s OK to let your child’s teacher know how they’re feeling. Teachers don’t take offense and have great ways of brainstorming WITH you about what might be going on.
• I cannot overemphasize the need to stay on the same team as the teachers in this and in all that happens for your child and for you. You and the teacher may not always agree with the assessment of WHY your child may be expressing this – but I do want to note, very respectfully, that the teachers are the professionals, the educators. Please listen to their responses and ideas about who your child is and why they may be saying what they’re saying. I caution us all to keep the respect for the professional in mind – in the same way that we do when we visit the physician, the lawyer, the computer technician, the plumber, etc. etc.
• Finally, I am always available to brainstorm with you the best approach to take when it comes to having conversations with your child and/or with their teacher. While I always recommend speaking with the teacher first, I also can “trouble-shoot” and help you prepare for the conversation.
I did go online to look for articles – there are MANY, as you can imagine. The excerpt below was of particular interest to me because of the angle it takes on looking at our brains and the function technology/Internet/video games, and other media etc. may have in this area. See what you think. And again, please share your thoughts, experiences and responses with me – at Coffee Hour, PTO and/or Council or through email, phone and/or appointments. Thank you!