"This is Boring"

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by creativemonster, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Feb 21, 2007

    No specific question - Just wondering about this over used phrase. My 11th and 12th graders feel free to share this with me constantly. I suspect it sometimes means "Help, I don't understand." but often it is after they have been tuned out for awhile. I'm thinking of having them discuss it tomorrow...hopefully they'll be willing to talk about it. ...They're great people, but so quick to tune out. Without feeling that I need to be entertaining I'm wondering what I can do to help them tune back in and be willing to be lost for a little while when new stuff is introduced. I'm sure they'll tell me that the discussion is boring. sigh.
     
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  3. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 21, 2007

    What subjects do you teach?

    Major :)
     
  4. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Feb 21, 2007

    You could respond by saying, "I'm sure you feel that way. Now I need you to...." This way you are acknowledging their feelingsl, but at the same time reiterating what you need them to be doing. If they truly don't understand, they need to find a way to articulate that to you.
     
  5. Exo

    Exo Rookie

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    Feb 22, 2007

    The heck with their feelings, I'd say. Do what you HAVE to do to TEACH them your subject.
    I had this. I usually use this to remind everyone of the purpose of being in school. "You are not here to be entertained and to have non-stop fun. You are here to get your education.So stop complaining and start working. Good results come with hard work. And in many cases you must do boring and difficult things - get used to it! "
    Also, after a complain from a student, "miss, isn't science supposed to be fun?", I told her that science IS FUN when you KNOW it, the more you KNOW the more fun it is. Ask the students who get 120 % on my quizzes.
    By the way, complaints stopped - I haven't heard any for 2 months now..
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2007

    That's pretty much what I do.

    On occasion I have been known to agree with them,or to warn them ahead of time. (FOr example, the begining of geometry is 3 straight days of definitions and theorems. No problems, just definitions and theory. I let them know that it IS boring, but that we can't get to the interesting stuff until they know the defs:rolleyes: ) And I sometimes let them know that at least they're only covering this material ONCE today-- pity me, I have ___ classes of the same material.

    It's the nature of the beast. Adolescents (and some adults too) simply love to complain. So sympathize and move on.
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Usually, they are the ones who want to look cool. Sometimes I just say, 'So sorry", and move on.
     
  8. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    You know sometimes things are boring. I even find sometimes when I'm teaching that something is boring. I try to jazz it up, but sometimes it just doesn't work. I usually tell the kids well I'm sorry you feel that way but there isn't anything I can do about it. Than I keep on going.
     
  9. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I hear this question all the time. I'm a para in high school special ed math, and they say this frequently. My kids are learning fractions, and they find it useless work...busy work. I just tell them this is what they're doing, so get used to it. My kids will be in for a shock when they realize how important fractions are in real life and they won't know how to do them. They don't realize that what we're doing right now (just getting into common factors) is just the tip of the iceberg.
     
  10. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Feb 22, 2007

    I, personally,can't say "heck with their feelings." As a teacher who uses Love & Logic (both at home and at school with great success), one of the first things I do is respond to students with empathy. By saying to a student who says he/she is bored "I'm sure you feel that way", I am letting them know that I heard them, but then I redirect them to the lesson. After hearing this, along with knowing that I stand by what I say, they don't complain; they do whatever task they are supposed to be doing. They know that they have a choice...do it now or do it later at a time that is convenient for me.
     
  11. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Thanks for so many responses! I teach Enlish and it came up in a literature class. I love the topic but I suspect it is scary to many of them (lots of language learners) I threw it back to them today - what do you mean by boring? And what do you think you can do to not be bored? Several of them talked about not being able to connect to the material and wanting to rewrite it in everyday language and wanting to work in groups and even acting it out. (variety of world myths) I talked about my loving the myths for their soap opera qualities and one kid talked about creation myths being like that computer game where you create cities out of nothing. (civilization maybe?) It took us about 4o minutes semi off topic but was one of the best classes we've had to date. I feel like th elittle bit of reading they did today was understood and thought about. I felt like they were more connected. Tomorrow I'll see how they do reading in groups of four and coming up with open ended questions. The class is 25 students so I can play more than I can in say my larger writing classes.
    oops - lunch over!
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 22, 2007

    Oh, splendid! I think that's one of the keys, creativemonster - it's easy to claim boredom in the face of subject matter that we feel we're Just Not Getting.

    I trust you let them know you were pleased with how things went.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 22, 2007

    It sounds like you hit it just right for the kids and the material you teach.

    Congratulations!!
     
  14. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    Feb 23, 2007

    Things are boring sometimes. I said "this is boring" the other day and my husband said "so you still need to know it right- you're learning something?" That was a great example of something we could say to our kids!
     
  15. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Feb 23, 2007

    I hate when kids are rude enough to tell you it's boring. When I am teaching something that I know my 7th graders think is boring , I beat them to the punch now by saying something silly or sarcastic- like, "Today we are going to learn about actions verbs and life just doesn't get any better than that!" I teach grammar and writing so I make it humorous and silly sometimes just to keep the kids awake and it keeps me from wanting to jump from the nearest window. I let the kids know that I understand how they feel. When I can't make something interesting at all I let them know by saying, "I can't make this interesting, so let's just get through this together". Most of them don't tell me things are boring anymore because they know I am in tune to them and I do try to make it as less boring by letting them work togther for part of the period. But I do let them know that yeah, it might be boring, but get over it.
     
  16. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Feb 23, 2007

    If they are more advanced students I'd probably just point out that school isn't here to teach them how to attend parties or watch tv but to teach them how to function in the world, including their future career, which like it or not will probably be boring sometimes.

    If they are lower-performing students I'd probably pretend to stab myself in the heart, exhale really loudly while smiling, then move on.

    Today I tried to get my students to come up with gerund phrases that expressed how they felt about learning about gerunds at the end of the day on a Friday, so I was actually encouraging my students to pronounce my class boring.

    I kept tossing out things like

    "Learning about gerunds is boring." (subject)

    "My least favorite thing is sitting in English class on a Friday afternoon." (predicate nominative)

    "I hate listening to Mrs. Wunderwhy talk about gerunds." (direct object)

    "English is known for putting me to sleep." (obj. of the preposition)

    Half of the kids got into it and added their own pet peeves, but the other half seemed to think I was trying to trick them into insulting me so that I could use it against them later perhaps. ;)
     
  17. Docere

    Docere Rookie

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    Feb 25, 2007

    Well, then they just need to say that they don't understand and ask for help. You can't read their minds. If they want help, they've got to meet you half-way.

    My response to "this is boring" is "I'm sorry." Then you just have to move on.

    I like your gerunds lesson, wunderwhy, by the way. :)
     
  18. dendrite

    dendrite Rookie

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    Feb 27, 2007

    None of my students ever claim boredom after the first week of school when I explain that intelligent people find something interesting in everything they experience. I even give them examples of things that I do when waiting (in a doctor's office -- look for funny names in a phone book like Jay Walker or F. Sharp).
    When new students join the class later in the year and let the "boredom" phrase slip, the other kids answer before I even take a breath to reply. "Intelligent people don't get bored."
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 28, 2007

    This connects, of course, with the "Real Life" thread. Intelligence is, I think, the fine art of FINDING uses for what you know in the world around you.
     
  20. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    Feb 28, 2007

    Have you seen this...

    Survey: Many U.S. high school students bored in class

    CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- A majority of U.S. high school students say they get bored in class every day, and more than one out of five has considered dropping out, according to a survey released Wednesday.

    The survey of 81,000 students in 26 states found two-thirds of high school students complain of boredom, usually because the subject matter was irrelevant or their teachers didn't seem to care about them.

    "They're not having those interactions, which we know are critical for student engagement with learning," said Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, who led the annual survey by Indiana University researchers.

    Half of the students surveyed said they had skipped school without a valid excuse at least once, and 22 percent said they had considered dropping out. More than half said they spent an hour or less per week reading and studying.

    Yet, three of four students surveyed said they expected to earn a high school diploma and go on to college.

    "Students may not be doing the work to get them to that point," Yazzie-Mintz said.
     
  21. Exo

    Exo Rookie

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    Feb 28, 2007

    Well, I wouldn't blame the teachers...
    It's strange, but most of people don't understand the value of foundamentals they get in school until much later in life...
    In soviet system of education (direct instruction only, memorizing dates in history, strict grammar emphasis, NO experiments or any kind of HANDS-ON in sciences), I used to get bored, and I even used to "cut" a class or two "just because"... But I've got the strong background in ALL subjects, was accepted and graduated with honors from vet.school, went through college in the US without breaking a sweat at all...
    Did anyone cared that I was bored in 7th or 10th grade? Was it necessary to care about it? I don't think so.
    I truly believe we care about wrong things in american education. (At least in scholls).
     
  22. mshutchinson

    mshutchinson Comrade

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    Mar 2, 2007

    A agree that we care about the wrong things, but these kid are accustomed to being coddled to and having everything dumbed down. M job is to teach, and if I have to do somethign I think it stupid to get it done, I guess I have to do it.

    For 'this is oring' I have trid diffrent approaches. Today I had a huge issue with boredom while reading Romeo and Juliet. I made all my kids stand up b/c they were zoned out! A student was reading, and he turned a page, and only one other child turned hers too!

    Sometimes, I acknowledge that something is boring and tell them we all have to suck it up. At the same time, I try to find ways to make things less boring.

    I also tell them that things are boring to me. Sometimes, I try to analyze why things are boring with them, this time, they analyzed and found a solution.

    I showed them a book I have to read for my gaduate class yesterday, and asked them for *their advice* on how to get into it. It was a sincere issue, but I'm not above faking it to get what I want. The kids gave me some good suggestions, most of them originally came from me (which shows they HAVE been listening!), to help me connect to the text. I told them I'd implement the best suggestion and report back to them Wednesday.

    Other times, I say, "you know what's boring?" Then I repeatedly poke at a spot as if pushing a button. Which leads to a breif conversation about careers.
     
  23. BigJim

    BigJim Rookie

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    Mar 2, 2007

    you might view it as:

    a.) They feel comfortable enough with you to be honest or b.) they are too dumb to have tact.

    Mine usually have a.)
     

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