Friday, October 12, 2012

Why do so many kids hate school?

Dan Willingham has his perspective to this question from the cognitive psychologist point of view.   This guy has a stronger opinion still summed up by, School is Prison.  While reading the excellent biography of Gino Bartali, Road to Valor, I am getting acquainted with this World Champion Cyclist  and World War II hero.  What struck me at the outset of his life was how little an impact school had on him.  He showed no interest in school and even lobbied his parents to let him finish early so he could move on to other pursuits like working at a bike shop and racing competitively. 

This makes me wonder how schools should change to become attractive to children like Gino, who have passionate interests that don't necessary align themselves to our curriculum or structure.  Angela Maiers says we should have passion centered schools and I agree.  To the degree that we connect with the passions of our students, we will also be able to connect them to the amazing world of science and languages and math and history that inform their passions and, I'm confident, we will see an increase in student engagement and learning and maybe even be able to change a trend that is at least as old as Shakespeare (and I'm confident much older).

Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books; But love from love, toward school with heavy looks. 

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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