Wasting our children’s time

Robert Fried says…

[F]ar too much of the time our children spend in school is wasted. . . .

[M]ost of what they experience during school hours passes over them like the shadow of a cloud, or through them like an undigested seed. They may be present in the classroom, but they are not really there. Their pencils may be chugging away on the worksheets or the writing prompts or math problems laid out for them, but their intelligence is running on two cylinders at best. They pay some attention to what their teacher happens to be telling them, but their imagination has moved elsewhere. . . .

And, worst of all, by the time our kids have reached fourth or fifth grade, they think what they are experiencing in school is normal. [The Game of School, p. 1]

6 Responses to “Wasting our children’s time”

  1. Ouch and Amen.

    Ouch: I recognize far too much of this in my own teaching far too often. It’s something I’m constantly struggling to correct. There are many forces pushing us in the opposite direction, though as often as not it’s my own choice. I’d like to think that I’m making progress, though, and when I hear from students or parents or fellow educators that I’m doing good stuff, it makes me think it’s not a futile effort.

    Amen: So often I see this in other teachers’ classrooms and they don’t even seem to recognize it for what it is. Even worse, I see the occasional teacher who celebrates obvious waste-of-time activities as great education.

  2. A great post. Everyone should read The Game of School by Robert Fried. It challenges much of what we call school and inspires a new vision of student learning that is meaningful and motivating.

  3. I actually just finished reading The Game of School! It was a great book. The real problem, however, is that unless a systemic change within education happens, we will continue to get the same results. That is a major theme in the book, but I just don’t know how realistic it is.

  4. I think that this passage on wasting kids time is true. Although they make good grade and everything, But have you really talked to them. Have you heard what they say. I have talked to some kids and thay say that their teachers keep their teaching by the book and dont let their imagination flow. That soon the start to fail their work.

  5. I completley agree with this passage. My opinion is that students are to far distracted during school now a days. I think that maybe if you(as teachers)sit the students down and talk to them about what they get so distracted by and what they think about when they are off in “la la land” maybe teachers could incorporate these ideas and imaginations into the lesson some how. Especially with the younger students they would feel like they made a big help teaching the class. and it will most likely keep their attention for longer than before.

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