Do you know why most students are really bored in their classes? The question is asked in an effort to gain teacher insight regarding this issue.

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For middle school students, they must be engaged and not allowed to tune out. For the teacher, that means that any lecture must be very short, use technology or at least use color-coded notes, and directions must be very clear.  I find that using Kagan strategies in lecture activities helps...

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For middle school students, they must be engaged and not allowed to tune out. For the teacher, that means that any lecture must be very short, use technology or at least use color-coded notes, and directions must be very clear.  I find that using Kagan strategies in lecture activities helps me keep the students on task, focused, and each is responsible for his/her own answer.  Allowing them to use a partner to compare notes and ask questions of each other part way through the lesson before each pair presents a question to the class also keeps them attentive. Teachers truly need to keep each activity focused and have a variety of activities to teach the same few important ideas for that day.  For all students, but especially my honors students, they truly need to be able to discuss, argue, debate, relate the idea to something else, and especially to learn to defend their ideas without getting angry and respect those who disagree. I did not often have students tell me they were bored.

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Students get bored because they need change. Sometimes teachers teach the same way, every day and this gets way too monotonous. I think it is important for teachers to vary instruction by using group work, individual work, computer time, educational games, etc. When all of these things are utilized students will not get bored. They will expect something new everyday.

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One of the things I think about and try to find ways to deal with is that the very structure of most schools does not always encourage students to be engaged in class or interested.  They often have very little freedom to choose what they want to learn, so you have already taken away that motivation.  They also often have little freedom to influence how they learn what they are being forced to learn, so that chips away further.  Then they are growing up in the most stimulating environment ever seen on earth (tv, internet, etc.) and you are asking them to be engaged in a classroom often for 45-55 or more minutes and wonder why they struggle with it?

A second concern that comes up is that they are always going to be compelled by what is most urgent to them.  If they have a test the following period and they know it is a big deal and will affect their grade (which to many means their future) they are going to be compelled to think about and try and study for that test, regardless of what you might be doing in your class.

Self-reflection can be a big help and modifying your classroom practices can also be a big help.  But remembering that you are going to lose many of those battles unless your school is structured in a non-traditional way is also helpful at times.

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A combination of factors.  They have limited control over the classes they take and which teachers they have.  Much of the material of traditional classes they have trouble finding relavance for in their daily lives, and/or do not know how to apply it so that it is relevant.  Many teachers are excellent in terms of knowledge of subject matter, but lack presentation skills that stduents would call interesting. Many teachers also focus on the structure of a classroom and curriculum, enforcing rules to the point that a positive learning environment that stimulates student interest is stifled.  Many kids are "plugged in" to texting and interactions that seem at all times more interesting than what they are supposed to be learning.

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Many of these postings point, quite appropriately, to the lack of student engagement, and to the need for technological sophistication in content delivery.

Yet I believe that the number one reason for boredom these days is that the overload of accessible information has made our students a bit numb.  They need to find their passion and we need to design curriculum that is open and flexible enough to allow for their own interests to be persued.

Course content needs to be painstakingly re-examined to see if it is relevant to the students' needs in the 21st century.  If it is, then perhaps a new delivery method which appeals to them will be the best choice for now.  But if our content is too fact-based or the skills we teach are irrelevant, we need to be very creative in finding ways to ignite a spark of interest in learning in our students and the only way to effectively do that (and do justice to their genuine needs) is to re-imagine our curricular pathways to address student needs, interests and passions; otherwise, we're the ones holding them back.

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I agree with a lot of great points made in the posts above.

As a young teacher I see two main reasons why students are bored. They are not challenged and invested in/by the subject. Unlike most electives, general education classrooms for core subjects are mandatory for students. While I wish they could see other education systems in the world and feel blessed, I know that the truth of the matter is, they need to see why what you are teaching them in relevant. To challenge students, I find asking them to make connections within their primary discourses a good way to start to get them thinking about a topic. Students do bring their own life experience to the education table and I think this is sometimes forgotten. Ask them to make connections and suggest supplemental texts (for the English classroom this is easy, for other subjects it would work as well with effort.) By having the students incorporate their lives and interests yet also using the problem solving skills to identify then synthesize information for a connection, accomplishes a lot.

Yet if you have a first period class at 7:20 in the morning, it may not be boredom... just lack of sleep.

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By using technology to "un-bore" students in the classroom, teachers fall prey to mediocrity and student pressure.  Technology, used as a viable and intelligetnt assistant to learning, can be a helpful tool.  BUT... teachers need to examine their methods, their preparation, and their passion for their subject.  The real reason students get bored is because of incompetent, mediocre, and stupid teachers.  We have let just about anyone into this profession - anyone who can make good-looking copies and have students complete worksheet upon worksheet.  Teaching is an art, and, while all students are not going to take responsibility for learning, a teacher's knowledge of the subject matter, pedegogical preparation, and, most of all, REAL passion for his/her subject matter will make the difference between a boring classroom and one in which students hold interest.  Be a real person to your students - be an example of a mature, responsible, professional, and intelligent ADULT - make sure your students know who you really are as a person and a teacher, husband/wife, father/mother --- they will respect you more for that than showing them pictures and videos on a SmartBoard.

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I find that making the curriculum centered around the students helps keep their interest.  I teach writing, and for each unit we learn how to get ideas from our own lives and thoughts.  I think that this creates more interest.

Also, I think that it is important to keep up a steady pace.  Not too fast, or kids will start to feel like tuning out because they can't keep up, but not too slow.  Make sure that the momentum in each unit or for each piece is never allowed to wind down.  I find that three to four weeks max is the time my kids (7th graders) are eager to work on a piece.  After that it is drudgery.  :)

Also, I make sure to teach grammar and editing ONLY in small chunks and ONLY to the kids who need it, while we are working on editing for about two or three days MAX.   Grammar work for weeks on end, when it is decontextualized from kids' writing, is torture...for them AND me.  :)

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I think students have been really board in classrooms since their conception. I also feel there are classrooms where students are constantly engaged in learning. The key is the teacher. Societies and cultures are constantly changing. Students enter classrooms each year with a different set of experiences and expectations. I believe students have one thing in common that they all have a brain that is desperately seeking knowledge and answers to questions.

Students become board when the information available does not address their questions, interests, nor stimulate curiosity.

The next question is: "How do we keep boardum out of the classroom?"  As a High School teacher of 30 years I know that the teacher is the key. Professional educators must have the skills and knowledge to assess and diagnose their student's needs and orchestrate lessons that stimulate thinking, interest and inquiry. The one essential skill teachers must possess is the ability to ask questions that facilitate higher order thinking. The ability to ask a set a questions that move students from what they know to synthesising and evaluating new information.

How does a teacher make the decisions necessary to ask questions that stimulate inquiry?

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Student engagement is a severe problem in today's educational system. There are various ways to increase engagement. I agree that today's students live in a high-speed information age where technology dominates a large percentage of their day. Yes, teachers should be well-versed in different ways of incorporating technology into their classroom. PowerPoints, SmartBoards, and ELMOs are all excellent ways of teaching concepts in a visually ( & possibly auditorally) pleasing way. However, not all teachers have access to this equipment.You can also incorporate technology by creating student projects that relate to technology. For example, have students design a poster of a given character's (or mathematician, historian, etc) MySpace or Facebook page.  They can include a short biography, important quotation, "Top Friends", song or playlist that represents them, etc. Similarly, have students write out texts or aims literary characters would exchange.

In addition, teachers can create review games that are fun. Look up games like Boom, Baseball, Spider, Mastermind...or incorporate game-show ideas like Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Jeopardy or Password. Also, any timed review revs students up. Beyond these steps, teachers must give students real-life applications & reasons for learning. By simply telling them WHY they should be invested in a given topic, half the buy-in process is complete. Last, know your students, especially their interests and motivations.

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To sort of sum up and/or add to what everyone has all ready said here...a teacher has to make it matter to the students. A lot of teachers get caught up in following the state (city/school)-mandated curriculum, and NCLB, and preparing for whatever state-mandated test is coming up next, that we forget that our job is to produce critical-thinking citizens for our society.

So, yes, it is important to help the students find motivation to take part in class. Let's face it, it's easier to encourage students with extrinsic motivation (grades, prizes, praise) than it is to produce intrinsic motivation (doing it for their own personal gain).

I actually challenge my students the first week of school every semester -- if they can find an assignment (paper, story, etc) in our class that does not relate to SOMETHING outside of the classroom (the news, their future career, something), then I won't teach it. Enforcing that concept/policy usually ends up with the students "defending" me against each other by the end of the year.

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Each student is personally responsible for what he or she gets out of any learning situation. If there is no personal motivation, there will be no personal reason to learn.

Teachers are caring people who want to present material for the students to learn. Don't worry! It sounds like you have done everything you could possibly do. You've done your part. Now, each student must do his or her part. 

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I think most students are bored because thanks to the Internet, video games, cell phones, television, iPods, etc., they are not used to having to hold their attention on any one thing for too long.  They are constantly entertained by graphics and music, and when they are asked to sit down and listen quietly while a teacher lectures, they cannot do it.  Their attention spans are shot.  This is a huge problem in our school.  Our students are bored at school and want to be entertained rather than learn the material they need.  It's unfortunate, because teachers are left to wonder what they can do and how they can change their curriculum in order to keep their students on task. 

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Students often say they are bored for a variety of reasons.

1) They are so used to quickly changing events.

2) They are unable or unwilling to focus on one thing for any length of time.

3) The classroom doesn't offer the entertainment that they are accustomed to.

4) Sometimes, students will say they are bored when in reality, they can't read well and sometimes, they can't read at all.

 

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Many good things have already been asserted on this topic, some of which I firmly agree with, and some that I'd like to modify slightly.

For one thing, high-tech gadgets and blinking internet wizardry are not completely necessary to maintain an engaging, non-boring classroom. I am fortunate -- I teach at a school where we have SmartBoards in every classroom, various computer labs for intensive reading help, among other things, and a lot of technology that other schools don't yet have access to.

That said, some of the best lessons I have had in my class have occurred when the SmartBoard is turned off, and when no one has their laptop, cell phone, or other "gadget du jour" available. It is in those moments when we as a group truly get to connect with one another -- no false pretenses, no Facebook personas, just kids being kids, and their teacher being himself. When all the technology goes away, students are left with nothing but themselves, and while that may be uncomfortable at first, after brief adjustments, students very much respond to it.

Technology does not equate to Engagement. The two complement one another, perhaps, but we as educational professionals must not make the mistake of placing all our faith in shiny classroom toys, some of which are more hype than help. It is our choice to have engaging classrooms, and our responsibility as well. A bored student is our cue to step it up and be the best we can possibly be.

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Don't you think a good teacher makes all the difference? In my experience, I liked something or hated something based on my teacher. Kids usually do not have enough discernment to know what they like or dislike and even if they do, it is still developing. Also, isn't all material interesting from a certain perspective? I think teachers make a huge difference.

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Don't you think a good teacher makes all the difference. In my experience, I liked something or hated something based on my teacher. Kids usually do not have enough discernment to know what they like or dislike and even if they do, it is still developing. Also, isn't all material interesting from a certain perspective? I think teachers make a huge difference.

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When I was twelve and thirteen, I was really into science, especially rockets and space. It was the early days of the US space program, and I was so absorbed by the whole subject that I even made my own crude, pen-top, match-head rockets in my basement. This was so long ago, folks, that there was no NASA yet!

Then came October 4, 1957. That was the day that one of the greatest events in the world of science, space, rockets and technology shocked the world: Russia had launched the first man-made earth satellite, the basketball-sized, shiny, silvery Sputnik. I was soooo excited.

October 4 fell on a Friday that year, and I absolutely couldn't wait for school to start on Monday when we could talk about this monumental event in science class. Well, Monday came, and there I finally was in 4th period science. I sat at my desk near the back of the room all excited and full of anticipation. The grey-haired science teacher stood up at his desk, paused for a second and said, "OK class: open your chemistry books to page 419."

Of course, my heart simply sank in my chest. This was not a student participation class; this was a serious science lecture, day after day, and you did what the teacher told you to. I was crushed with disappointment and did what I was told to do.

But I did learn a serious, life-changing lesson that day. When I became a teacher, many years later, I determined not to ever make the same myopic mistake that my eighth-grade science teacher had made so many years before. Every class, for the last thirty seven years, I begin with the same sentence. I ask this loud and clear: "Does anyone have anything to say?" Be assured that this is no idle question. All of my students learn from the very first day of class, and know for certain, that I am sincerely interested to hear and discuss what each and every one of them may have on their minds. They know that comes first.

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Having been a high school teacher, graduate professor, doctoral/masters/bacherlor's student, all the classes where I have paid attention have 1 common element- a passionate instructor. A passionate instructor typically comes with a depth of knowledge, confidence, enthusiasm, and the ability to communicate. No need for a mandatory attendance policy, no draconian policies, no technology, and no games or self-esteem building exercises. It didn't matter if it was a 100+ lecture hall or a 15 person seminar course, if the instructor loved the subject, it was always contagious! My experience as a professor is the same- when my teaching assignments are aligned with my passions for the subjects I am the most motivated enthusiastic instructor. I see the immediate reflection of my attitude in the faces of my students. If students aren't paying attention, ask yourself how you can make it more interesting for you to teach? What excites you? Then find a way to incorporate that into your lessons. The kids will see how excited you are and it will eventually catch on. You'll both be happier!

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Teachers need to realize they are not entertainers.  They cannot compete with the Xbox or a blockbuster movie.

Sometimes you have to lecture.  If you can help the student see how the material applies to their life it helps.  (Even if you have to show them how learning this concept is a means to an end...ie a diploma.)

Teachers often beat their heads against the wall and try changing their style and lessons to get the kids motivated.  in reality motivation should come from within.  The parents should be instilling a love for learning to the child LONG before they come to school.  Sadly, teachers have to assume this role in some cases.

As long as the teacher truly loves his or her job the student will see their passion and that is usually enough to earn their respect and attention.

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When students are bored, teachers have GOT TO look in the mirror and say, "What am I doing to plan lessons that bore my students?" This is extremely difficult for most teachers to do. I didn't learn to do it until I went through National Board Certification and had to videotape my classroom.

There are many strategies that middle and high school teachers can use to make lessons interesting and participatory, using technology or not. However, most of them, especially high school teachers, fall back into the mode of teacher talking then students doing seatwork. This is intensely boring to students.

  I tend to agree with you.  If my students are bored, I take full responsibility and start looking at my teaching methods and materials.  Perhaps I can spice things up a bit or engage them in something more interactive.  Weather permitting, we sometimes move our lesson outside on the lawn or up in the library.  It's the same lesson, but in a different surroundings and they love it!

If it's hi-tech that stimulates them, intersperse your lesson materials with timely DVD's or slide shows.  Every student these days responds to these types of media.  And, a lecture becomes more interesting if there are pictures to go along with it.

Another solution I've discovered is when students are bored and you seem to be losing them, try doing something physical and get them moving.  An activity lasting only five minutes can refresh and stimulate and get them back on track. 

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Students must take ownership of thier own education!  Why do they get bored?  Maybe the way the material is being presented is boring.  In my experience, High school students will do what you set them up to do.  If you engage a kid with a cool demonstration, he is much more likely to listen to the principles behind that demo. Teachers need to not be afraid of teaching the same concepts in different ways.  One quick example.  I was reviewing the states of matter with my 10th grade biology students.  Very simple matter for most of them, could be done in a "boring" way by listing each state and writing examples. We chose to make ooblick (2 parts corn starch, 1 part water) and try to identify it as a solid or liquid.  For those of you who have never messed with a non-newtonian fluid, it is liquid unless you apply pressure to it and it becomes more solid.  Youtube has some interesting clips with people running on these liquids.  Much more interesting than a list of solid, liquid, gas... .zzzz. zzzzz....

I agree that students need to take ownership of their own learning. I am a proponent of Paulo Friere's concept of learning, along with the feminist learning theory of Bell Hooks.

I think teachers need to be interesting, yes. I am a teacher and I have taught since 1982, so I know that's true. But we need not become entertainers. I mean: there may be "some" boring aspects that still need to be taught.

As a parent I enforce my son doing his homework. And I stress learning everyday in our regular environment. But mostly I do it because I enjoy learning; and I want him to enjoy learning also. He does I think because he sees that my husband and I read a lot and enjoy learning.

I think there is a larger problem in our culture that discourages learning and that is seeking instant gratification. I also think that desiring money above all things is also a false value that is encouraged in our culture today. I think back to when I was my son's age. It was during the Vietnam War. We tried to change society. We believed we could change society for the better. I think that is a noble ideal even though it didn't work so well. Nowadays most of the students only aspire to get rich or become famous. I think with those ideals it is hard to justify studying hard and learning.

I don't know. But I think it is a combination of teachers trying to be stimulating and students being ultimatley responsible for their own learning.

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Students who are engaged in learning-not bored-are those who feel like they have a choice and are held responsible for their learning. First obtain feedback from students. I give a Reading Interest Inventory at the beginning of the year. When I find out a student does not like to read I figure out their interests.

Sometimes students don't like to read because they find it difficult. It's the teachers job to find the ability level of each student and gear lessons to meet their needs. Students will feel successful and connect to lessons when they are taught at their level. Those students who seem bored probably lack the ability to keep up with other students in the regular classroom.

Another tool I use to engage students is the Smartboard. Some schools may not have the funding to supply Smartboards, but if you have one use it! There are so many great, interactive activities that students really enjoy. When I teach vocabulary to my students we use the Frayer model. Students each get a word to present to the class. They are given time to find information about the word. Finally they write their word on the Smartboard while their peers write the word on their own sheets. This is a great team building activity!

Overall I have noticed my students becoming more engaged in the lessons when I offer choices, do interactive activities, and hold them responsible for their learning. We also use the SIOP model and explain why we are learning this. It helps them connect to the lesson!

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When students are bored, teachers have GOT TO look in the mirror and say, "What am I doing to plan lessons that bore my students?" This is extremely difficult for most teachers to do. I didn't learn to do it until I went through National Board Certification and had to videotape my classroom.

There are many strategies that middle and high school teachers can use to make lessons interesting and participatory, using technology or not. However, most of them, especially high school teachers, fall back into the mode of teacher talking then students doing seatwork. This is intensely boring to students.

As a longtime high school and middle school English teacher, I have long since come to the conclusion that you cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try. Many students are totally turned off by the thought of attending English class or participating in virtually any kind of reading, writing, or discussion of whatever subject may be at hand. I find most students do enjoy visual presentations, i.e. movies and videos. Naturally, these non-written forms cannot become the backbone of an English class, but I do try to use them more than most English teachers. Since today's students have grown up in the computer age, I believe the use of PC and laptop assignments--whether Internet or non-Internet based--are also more student-friendly and more often receive positive responses than pencil and paper work. Obviously, the teacher is out of luck if PCs or laptops are not available or allowed in the classroom, but keeping up with the times and using a more modern approach to creating assignments is essential in the 21st century classroom. 

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Many times we fail to address the different learning styles of our students and also forget that many times we have to establish connections to build the schema that many students lack. At times, we assume that they connect the information that we are bringing not knowing that the minute they dissociate from it, we have officially "lost the kid".

Many teachers still believe erroneously that we are supposed to always provide whole group instruction driven by what test scores revieal. Instruction should be skill-based, meaningful, rich with feedback and driven by research. When we deviate from that, we are literally teaching a book or a unit which will lead us nowhere.

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It was John Dewey who said, "Begin with the child." That is something I try to never forget. It's about making connections with the student's world, his or her interests, personality, family, experiences, and so on. None of us can find meaning in anything unless we can connect it with ourselves.  There is good brain science to support this, which makes Dewey's idea even more impressive.  We now know that nothing goes in unless it can connect with something already in the brain. Even a lesson on grammar can connect with the student, by using examples that are relevant to the student's life, or by using the student's own writing as examples.  There is no content area in which we cannot make a connection with the student. 

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My goal in the classroom is to make every piece of literature RELEVANT to my students' lives. It's sometimes a challenge, but there is always a way to do it. The hallmark of great literature is universal themes and values, and those are timeless. It's fun for me as a teacher to see my students connect with literature because they see why it matters to them. (The best example is in Gulliver's Travels. We compare the Liliputians' voting criteria to the criteria most US voters use when casting a vote. Is there really any difference between the best rope-dancer and the candidate with the best hair?)

It does require that I stay on top of both current events and pop culture, but it is worth the effort. I also create Facebook groups for my classes---and I'll periodically post on a student's wall. They love it---which makes them want to put forth the effort in class.

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I teach in an inner city school where many students find summer vacation so boring that, when autumn finally comes, they are happy to be back in school.  I have often wondered how they could possibly be so bored when most of them have easy access to cable TV, video games, the internet, etc.  My experience suggests that these young people become bored at home in spite of all of the wonderful sensory experiences that modern technology is able to deliver because they are often unable to make television, the internet and video games relevant to their daily life.  Generally speaking, I have found that when students grasp the relevance of any course of study to their everyday lives, boredom evaporates and they become motivated learners.

Helping students become engaged, thoughtful learners seems to require a willingness on the part of educators to help students find relevance on an individual basis when necessary, because the reasons for their boredom are legion.

A word of caution:  There is an element in learning that is, often necessary, and generally not fun because the relevance is not part of the learner's immediate experience.  Such is the case with a piano student who is required to learn his/her finger exercises.  He/she knows that those exercises create "muscle memory" of musical patterns in the fingers which ultimately lead to learning new music faster, but most students find the exercises boring until they experience the relevance.

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I agree with many of the points previously made, but numbers 15 and 17 are the only two that follow my intial gut reaction to the question. I truly believe that a teacher must do all that is possible to engage the students (as the other 15 people said before me); however, I believe the true problem right now in American education hits on the lines of what 15 and 17 said.

There is a definite trend in teacher education and professional development for teachers to work with Multiple Intelligences and get the kids up and about to engage them. I know that I do these things in my classroom and many of my colleagues do also, but we are still stumped by probably about a third of our students who just don't seem to care.

Our students are growing up in a world that teaches them that they never have to take the responsibility for anything. Burn yourself with hot coffee at the McDonald's drive thru? Sue McDonald's. Why would they make their coffee so hot anyway? Slip on a wet floor at Wal-Mart with a caution sign right in front of you? Sue Wal-Mart. What were they thinking cleaning their floors? Bored in English class? Gotta be the teacher's fault. How dare they not make this stuff more interesting?

Some of this engaging education hoopla is really important and some of it is actually a song and dance that actually takes away from true learning. Perhaps we should trust the trained professional to know when to choose which, and we should expect our children to realize that their education is their responsibility. Sometimes students just have to go home and memorize those multiplication tables. No song. No dance. Just learning because the student wants to learn and needs to learn for future success.

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At some point we need to stop worrying about if the student is entertained.  We cannot compete with MTV and iPhones and $100,000,000 Hollywood movies. 

We need to send a message that each teacher will present the material in a way they see best.  If we are preparing students for college or work or the military we need to help them realize that its not about being entertained.

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All terrific, insightful responses. I especially connected with #9. I think the most important lesson I've learned (and tried to incorporate in my teaching) is to show my students that I care about them and respect them. When they know this, I've found that they'll "run through walls" for you.

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Another reason why students are often bored in their classes is because the material is often presented in the same way day in and day out. Many teachers don't even consider Gardner's idea of multiple Intelligences. Students who are visual learners are going to tune out a lecture. Those who are bodily-kinesthetic learners need to get up, move around and do something, be it building models or skits. Interpersonal learners have an innate need to work with others and process information in a group. The best teachers are those whose lessons are multi-modal. This allows students to access and process information in the manner in which they are most comfortable. Hence, they will find their classes more interesting and they will have a better understanding of the material being presented.

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I attended a seminar recently. I was forced to sit in a chair for an hour and listen to a speaker who talked at length, quite knowledgably, about a subject that related to my life in no way at all. Was I bored? Yes, indeed. Because I was a student for an hour? No. Because I'm a human! So, first and foremost, students are people, too!

In any class, the person who is doing the talking is doing the learning. The "sage on the stage" method of instruction is the least effective, research shows. To be engaged, students must be active, physically and mentally. They need to move physically rather than be confined to one space for an extended period. They need to think and speak, rather than listen passively. They need to act.

Lessons must bridge the gap between "the world in here" and the world out there--the real world of their real lives. Creative lesson plans are a must to accomplish this. Stories like Freedom Writers demonstrate the power of making this real-world connection. The reality link can be accomplished in lots of ways, though, without elaborate arrangements.

Human beings are social creatures, regardless of their ages. Being cut off from all social interaction in a classroom guarantees problems and disengagement. Students will engage and learn a lot from each other when the teacher engineers the right climate and provides organization and direction.

Incorporating any form of technology into the classroom is effective because it bridges the gap to the real world where we all live. Incorporating interactive technology resources turns students into doers. Allowing students to use technology resources together to solve problems meets their need to socialize. Using technology iin the classroom is effective because it meets these basic human needs, not because it is hip or cutting edge. These same needs can be met in many other ways through creative lesson planning.

 

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Students must take ownership of thier own education!  Why do they get bored?  Maybe the way the material is being presented is boring.  In my experience, High school students will do what you set them up to do.  If you engage a kid with a cool demonstration, he is much more likely to listen to the principles behind that demo. Teachers need to not be afraid of teaching the same concepts in different ways.  One quick example.  I was reviewing the states of matter with my 10th grade biology students.  Very simple matter for most of them, could be done in a "boring" way by listing each state and writing examples. We chose to make ooblick (2 parts corn starch, 1 part water) and try to identify it as a solid or liquid.  For those of you who have never messed with a non-newtonian fluid, it is liquid unless you apply pressure to it and it becomes more solid.  Youtube has some interesting clips with people running on these liquids.  Much more interesting than a list of solid, liquid, gas... .zzzz. zzzzz....

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Boredom in the classroom is a reaction to lack of engagement  - which can be with the subject, the teacher, or both. I have found that having a positive relationship with my students, being interested in them as people, sharing a sense of humour and fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect means that we can 'tough out' some of the topics which are less interesting. I always strive to be enthusiastic and passionate about my subject, and I do employ as much modern technology as my school has access to (Youtube, Smartboards, a bank of bookable PC's) but I tell my classes that our priority is education not entertainment. Usually we end up combining the two.

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Students who become bored in class do so because they are disconnected with the subject matter. Whether due to the students' excelerated understanding or the lack there of, if the relevance of the subject matter has been lost, students will become bored.  If this is the case, an educator must find a way to ignite their curiousity.  Obviously, 'not all subjects being equal' every educator blazes a different path.  Having said that, I think if students believe their teacher really wants to hear what they have to say, they are more willing to engage themselves in the classroom discussion.  Educators must remember, it's not always what you teach...it's how you teach it....

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The previous posts were really strong.  I absolutely agreed with them.  I think that the one which resonated me the most was the idea of looking in the mirror and confronting one's own notion of self.  I think that there has to be some time spent on understanding both what we teach, but also how students learn.  I am at the point in my own teaching where teaching the skills of metacognition are about as vital as teaching content.  When students are able to possess the vocabulary and ideas which allow them to better understand how they learn, the type of learner they are, and the different models of learning where their strengths reside and where their weaknesses need attention, I think we will see more student interest generated in the curriculum and classroom.  The reason being that student voice is authenticated and resonant in a classroom where students are able to possess their own intellectual voice that helps to stress how they can learn content and how instruction can be more relevant and meaningful to them.

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Many teachers in my high school do what is easiest for them, lecture from notes, which is not effective with a typical high school student.  I try to vary my instruction practices and get as many students involved as possible.  If a teacher is not willing to vary his/her methods, then students will continue being bored.  Other teachers and I combine discussions with pair-work, fish bowl activities, etc.

I once heard the statistic that most humans' attention-span is their age in minutes; so a 15-year-old student has an effective attention-span for 15 minutes.  If this is true, then it is imperative that teachers plan a variety of activities for each class period.

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When students are bored, teachers have GOT TO look in the mirror and say, "What am I doing to plan lessons that bore my students?" This is extremely difficult for most teachers to do. I didn't learn to do it until I went through National Board Certification and had to videotape my classroom.

There are many strategies that middle and high school teachers can use to make lessons interesting and participatory, using technology or not. However, most of them, especially high school teachers, fall back into the mode of teacher talking then students doing seatwork. This is intensely boring to students.

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Children today are growing up in an entertainment based world.  Their entire lives are digital: from their cell phones, to T.V., to video games, and MP3/iPods. 

When students step into a classroom (unless the school has a high budget) they are not seeing all these technological devices while learning.  Too many teachers are still teaching by lecturing, but students now need more.

In order to keep students engaged, they need to be interested.  Technology interests students.  Giving them the ability to demonstrate understanding of a concept through a PowerPoint presentation is more appealing to them then a paper-pencil test.  Their creativity is brought out and they are more inclined to try their best and be more attentive.  When students see papers in color under an ELMO rather than an overhead, they are more engaged.  The color speaks to them and they have an easier time focusing.

Until allteachers incorporate technology daily into their lessons, students will continue to be bored at school.  Now, is this the teachers' fault? No. Is this the students' fault? No. No one can be to blame that our great nation has developed technology in such a way that it interests young minds.  Older minds just need to do their best to adapt and become learners once again.

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