Nancy Flanagan writes about bored students and boring teachers at Teacher in a Strange Land.
Boredom isn’t an excuse for bad behavior, she starts.
If you’re bored, see it as an opportunity to figure out why. In addition, bear in mind that many excellent life habits are established through repetition and plodding along.
Boredom isn’t a sign the curriculum or teaching has been “dumbed-down,” Flanagan adds. “Practicing almost anything can feel boring, at times.”
Buying into kids’ boredom as valid reason for disconnecting or misbehaving corresponds to another fallacy: the idea that “good” teachers should make every lesson novel and entertaining to kids. True, there is a strong acting/entertainment factor in dynamic teaching. Great teaching should inspire learning through more than attention-grabbing, however. Reminder: the person who does the–hard, and occasionally monotonous–work of learning is the student. It doesn’t matter how many white-lab-coat chemical explosions they witness, or if their fifth grade teacher dresses up like Amelia Earhart–there is no learning without diligent effort on the part of the child.
Boredom is not a sign of giftedness, Flanagan writes.
Students who “own their boredom” can find ways to deal with it, she advises.
I went through school before the invention of “gifted and talented education.” There was no tracking till high school. I read in class, which made it possible to go through 10 books every two weeks. (When the library gave us three weeks, I started reading longer books.) It’s the core of my education.