Pedagogy… am I boring you?
January 19, 2011 Leave a comment
One of the Necessary Thinkers I attend to, Steve Taffee of the Blogg-Ed Indetermination blog , published a provocative post today entitled “School Bored: Is Boredom Bad?” It’s a thoughtful piece that teased up the response growing in me since I entered the education field, and I copy my response to his post below.
In my experience, any educator’s demand that students accept boredom as part of their educational experience is a kind of self-absolution for mediocre pedagogy.
Sure, academically we can ask students to reflect on their own perceptions and attitudes toward learning (the sex ed scene from Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” comes to mind), but whenever I hear the expectation of boredom-acceptance uttered in the classroom, it sets off alarms for me.
Students can memorize in an non-stimulating classroom context, but I think you’d get some hefty argument regarding whether this represents learning.
As our students increasingly come to us digitally fluent and highly networked, we need to stretch ourselves into different pedagogical shapes to accommodate this complex of perceptual/processing skills that are admittedly quite foreign to us.
In the early 80’s medical science was confronted by a new epidemic we now call AIDS, and the field had to scramble with everything they knew to wrap their minds around a very new challenge, and they remain in a process of discovery today. Educators are faced with a very similar challenge: never before have children changed so much from their parents’ generation in so little time, and we need to pay attention to our own biases and expectations bound by our own experience as students. We are babies in this, and we’d better pay attention.