‘Engage me or enrage me’ or ‘Bore me to the Core’


Steve Evans – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4a/Monkeys_in_the_Wild.jpg/320px-Monkeys_in_the_Wild.jpg

Students are bored in our classrooms….. Is this always such a bad thing?

I am not disagreeing with what Marc Prensky has to say. My sons are avid game players, they know more about Italian history from playing assassins Creed and more about the social and economic implications of going to war from playing Civilization than I certainly ever did at their age, or at my age now for that matter. When I teach about genetic modification the Students talk about Bioshock. People learn from games. Our students learn team skills from MMOs, they learn communication skills from Minecraft multiplayer games, their interactions with their friends and peers don’t stop when they leave the school gates but continue till they log off and go to sleep. One of ISMs Transdiciplinary skills is communication – a thing we value so much that we put posters up encouraging it in many classrooms, our students develop it for fun at home with their mouse and their microphone. As for creativity, our students now build cities that work (if only SIM city was around when they weren’t planning Manila.) build houses and palaces and whole civilizations. We don’t assess it – maybe that is why we don’t call it education! (ok that was facetious.)

Dr Teresa Belton argues that there is room for boredom in the classroom in an article written by Hannah Richardson of the BBC. Boredom also allows creativity, with freewheeling brains there is room to explore your interests. NeuroScientist Susan Greenfield argues that boredom encourages the development of imaginative play,

One of the points that interested me from Dr Belton and struck a chord was:

“boredom could be an “uncomfortable feeling” and society had “developed an expectation of being constantly occupied and constantly stimulated”.

But she warned that being creative “involves being able to develop internal stimulus”.

“Nature abhors a vacuum and we try to fill it,” – Hannah Richardson (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21895704)

I wondered as I read Marc’s article about a sense of entitlement to be entertained. “You don’t entertain me so I won’t pay attention”. I wonder if this is universally true in all schools or is an artifact of city life.


2 thoughts on “‘Engage me or enrage me’ or ‘Bore me to the Core’

  1. mmmm.. the balance between amusement, entertainment, learning and synthesis. How do we reach this friction/biting point as teachers? Sometimes we underdo it and stall, othertimes we overdo it and bunny hop off down the road towards education. I suppose as we become more proficient, the smoother we can change gears…

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