Monday, November 15, 2010

Kids ARE Kids

I did it again. I read Jay Mathews' column (blog, whatever) and got annoyed. To compound my foolishness I commented on the post which means that I feel compelled to follow the other comments. I truly should know better.

This one was Top District Lets Average Kids Lag Behind. Iit reads like an indictment of high school students. Well, not those who are making As, but others.

Mathews wrote this after hearing from a high school teacher who is concerned about the grading policy in his district.
“All I can do is beg my students to study. Ultimately, they know they don’t have to and don’t,” said Stephens, who has taught for 20 years. “I would guess fewer than a handful actually studied for their test last week. No joke.”

I have so many issues with this. But I'm going to stick with just one in this rant. Plenty of research has shown that the teenage brain is not fully developed. Teenagers are not able to make decisions as adults. From the above cited article in Harvard Magazine:

The last section to connect is the frontal lobe, responsible for cognitive processes such as reasoning, planning, and judgment.
But we expect students to plan for tests that have little or no relevance in their lives. Just because we say so. I'm old enough that according to the research my brain has fully developed, but I don't like to do things because someone else says so. I'd be hard pressed to judge teenagers because they don't like to jump through hoops. Let's try to look at our students in light of their years and brain development. Let's not keep acting as though they are mini-adults.

1 comment:

MrTeacherMan said...

I appreciate what you said here about understanding that our students are not adults. Whether we teach high school or elementary, our students will behave differently than adults. I often wonder if the ideas of kinesthetic learners and ADHD may just be linked to a fundamental aspect of children. Children need time to play and run and shout. But in school we expect them to sit and talk quietly. I have two toddlers who (thanks to their mother) behave very well, but there are times when even we expect too much of them: “Play quiet.” “Don’t run around!” “Would you please be quiet!” I know that we have to have control of our students, but how much do we have to confine them?
I am a pre-service teacher, so I would love some feed back if you get a chance.