We skim spark notes to read the classics. We copy our friend’s math homework to get the points. We google the answers to our biology labs to save ourselves from reading the textbook.
While this may not always be the case for everyone at Seaholm, it’s hard to deny we all cut a corner ever now and then.
This is by no means a terrible practice. It actually seems quite reasonable given just how busy students are these days.
But, what does this mean for learning? Not just memorization, not getting a 4.0, but truly learning
I’d be hard pressed to find a student in Seaholm who says that they enjoy learning.
This is illustrated by the composition of Twitter every Sunday night, a variety of dazed, confused, and angered pictures accompanied by #schooltomorrow
It’s sad that school has gotten to a point where even the thought of going makes us want to put up a fight, lie on the floor, or runaway screaming.
While it’s easy to blame hours of homework and plentiful amounts of test for our disdain for school, Cognitive Scientist Daniel T. William says it’s something else entirely.
In his book, Why students don’t like school, William claims that the problem is in the way that teachers present curriculum to their students.
So maybe it’s not that we cant stand algebra or that discussing classic literature is a form of modern day torture. According to William, it’s all about format.
This is easy to see within Seaholm, as trying to get an A quickly becomes the format of every single class.
This makes sense. How can students possibly enjoy the timeless writing of Paradise Lost if their mind is consumed with what grade they’ll be receiving on their final essay in the class.
But at the end of the day, teachers do have to give grades and students do have to learn.
Unfortunately, the format of America’s education system isn’t going to magically transform over night.
So, in the meantime try to make your high school learning experience the best it can be.
Try to sprinkle “personal development” classes into your schedule. Great examples of these types of classes are the Maple Tree, theatre, interior design, and photography.
These are classes that move away from the typical core class format of memorization and tests to real-world experience.
William says that the most important part of being happy in school is understanding the format that teachers expect you to learn.
Therefore, if you’re in a class where you enjoy the material and get real-world experience, you are more likely to both learn effectively and actually enjoy your time at school.
In the end not every class is going to be your favorite. The key is to find personalized classes that you feel excited about attending and learning in to make your school day that much more bearable.