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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

What teens want

Nearly all high school students say they want to learn, reports What Teens Want From Their Schools, a Fordham survey. Ninety-five percent claim they complete assignments; 91 percent say they listen carefully in class. However, they engage with schools in different ways.

  1. Subject Lovers (19 percent of students) generally enjoy school and feel engaged when they perceive what they’re learning to be useful, interesting, and relevant to their daily lives.

  2. Emotionals (18 percent) have a need for connection at the school level (such as smaller schools), and without it, may run the risk of dropping out.

  3. Hand Raisers (18 percent) apply themselves in class, but don’t report spending much time on homework or in extracurricular activities.

  4. Social Butterflies (16 percent) feel they belong at school, that they matter to others, and that they are generally understood and respected. They most enjoy the social aspects of school (such as sports and hanging out with friends), and tend to be average performers academically.

  5. Teacher Responders (15 percent) value close relationships with teachers and other adults in their school, and thrive when they feel that adults are invested in them academically and personally.

  6. Deep Thinkers (15 percent) listen carefully, like to figure out things on their own, think deeply when they take tests, and complete their assignments. They do well in school, but not as well as one might expect from a group that is intrinsically motivated.

Subject lovers are more likely to be white males,” reports Evie Blad in Education Week, while “hand raisers are more likely to be female.” Deep thinkers and emotionals are more likely to have a C average and the “most likely to say they’d considered dropping out.”

I guess I was more of a subject lover, though I certainly felt like I belonged in school.

Who believes that more than 90 percent of students do the work and listen carefully?

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