Motivating Teens who do not want to Learn

It is not really all about teens not wanting to learn, many things contribute to an atmosphere of feeling that there is no point to any of it, with drug use on a steep incline upwards, gangs and teen pregnancy being out of control, and their being more intervention specialist than guidance counselors, when is there time too learn when chaos is all around you? These were big problems a decade ago, (the pre Columbine years.) how much worse can it get before schools finally take a step back and see they are failing the student,just as much as the student is failing themselves.

After graduating high school in 1998 I realized how antiquated it really was. I really learned nothing from school, that I used in my Fathers business. This wasn’t because I didn’t pay attention or study, it was because high school didn’t prepare me for the real world, it prepared me to take state equivalences test and not much else. These test were the bread and butter of the school, and if a certain number of students didn’t pass, then Federal funding could be cut off.

It is great to check a students progress with test from time to time, and make sure that they are learning the current curriculum, but these where test to see what we should have already known. For example it was a requirement to pass a test for what you should know in eighth grade to graduate high school, shouldn’t we have taken the test before we went on to high school? Whats worse, fifteen seniors failed it that year, and didn’t graduate. With that there is also the issue of completely outdated material, that has no real value.

The problem is not students unwilling to learn, it is the fact that students now have access via the Internet, to up to date information which makes the books that were issued to us, but researched and printed in the 70’s, out to be full of incorrect scientific information, a glazing over or complete fabrication of historical facts, and time dedicated on memorizing facts not on thinking on your own. Couple that with all of the regular problems that teens face and it all adds to a somewhat jaded outlook by many students who feel that they are not learning what they could really use in the future.

Also the teaching of classes that will not benefit students in the real world, such as biology or calculus, that only a select few will ever need to use even of the college bound, is a precious waste of time that is so short to begin with, and with classes that are over crowded and forty minutes long, if your lucky there is 30 minutes of real teaching going on per subject per day. With little time for questions and complete explanation. I understand that high school is aimed at prepping students for college, but that is an impossible task, and with less than 15% of students actually going to college, the other 85% have little to use when they get their first job. How many of us actually use anything we have learned it biology or calculus even on a yearly basis once we left school.

Often times schools make certain classes mandatory for graduation, such as physical education,and home economics, the problem is, those that live an active lifestyle will continue to do so even if they never took a class, while those that hated gym wont ever touch a barbell again, and if you don’t know how to sweep your home and make cookies by the time your eighteen, then house keeping probably wont be a priority anyway. So whats the point of throwing away precious little time on classes that are essentially worthless, as compared to real education? When you force a student to take a class that will not really change their outlook, or really teach them, it only adds to not taking other more important classes seriously, and burdens them with homework that is wasting time they could use for real education.This is all a throwback to teaching kids in the same way as their parents had been taught, with no thought to the drastic social and technological changes that have taken place since that time.

The problem is not that teens do not want to learn, it is that high school has not caught up with the technological growth of society, and does little to teach students the needed information for this day and age. High school students are savvy enough to have realized this as well, and many see little point in doing more then the bare minimum. The current curriculum is somewhat like trying to force fifth grade students to finger paint, a big waste of time with no real challenge or skill learning taking place.

Many of us realized that we were not learning very valuable information, as students ten years ago, even more has changed since then, that is except the curriculum and teaching method.