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I know I can speak for many gifted kids when I say I'm bored. I had three classes this year that were way too easy for me, and those were Math (Honors Algebra II), Spanish (Honors level 3), and Religion. I had skipped Honors Albebra II my sophomore year, and then for junior year, they put me in it anyway saying that I had to take it, even though I had already learned it on my own. I sat in that class and slept, read, day-dreamed and everything else but listen and got nothing lower than an A on anything except the quiz on the classroom rules. In Spanish, my pronunciation is very good, my understanding is even better, and I can figure out words I've never seen before at first glance because that's what I do. I study words. The other kids are all confused on stuff we learned last year and the year before, and I get A's without studying. And in religion, the teacher gives us the exact questions to the test three weeks before the test. People still fail, and I look over the notes two minutes before the test and get A's. Then the kids complain when he only gives us a study guide and not the actual questions, which I would be fine without already. And it's not just me, a lot of people go through this at school. I can't wait to get out. Slow-learners are never told to fit in and act like they learn like everyone else, so why should fast-learners have to do that? If I wanted to sit around and drool, I really could do that at home, and I wouldn't. I know people say that in other countries, the education is bad, so I should be thankful, but if I'm thanking anyone, it's myself, because everyone else refuses to teach me. I shouldn't be thankful for being forced to sit and be bored, yes BORED, in a classroom full of people that I just don't sympathize with at all, looking at stuff I already know. I wouldn't call myself spoiled, because so far, nothing worthwile has just been handed to me. For the most part, I've taught myself. People say, oh the smart kids can teach themselves, so we don't have to worry, they'll be ok. But I shouldn't have to teach myself. Now of course, I would take some responsibility for my education and stimulate my own brain, and I do. But why can't I sit in some other class and do that? Perhaps a class that is on my level? I wouldn't call us spoiled, since we barely get any attention anyway. People are more worried about the slower kids. So I wouldn't say spoiled, but I would call myself restless and irritable in those easy-A classes.
It also never ceases to surprise me when people do not recognize the gift of a free public education and growing up in a country with bountiful resources that many would and have died for. May I suggest watching any documentary about children working at age 2 or up in many undeveloped countries, children starving and crying because they do not have food or their parents have died from disease or war. This is something to be upset about. I agree that some children may need additional educational stimulation. What rubs me the wrong way is when children and parents call it boredom. Children need to learn appreciation and ways to enrich themselves if they are not having it done for them. As far as comparing other educational systems, it is comparing apples to oranges. In America, ALL are tested and given a free public education. In many other countries, the statistics you see are weeded out as only the elite are tested, many children do not attend school, or children are sorted via a test given at age 12 -13 to see what track they should take in the future. To me, THAT is not a pretty picture. Finally, I would like to address my attitude that you wrote about. I enjoyed school, perhaps not every class, but I did enjoy school. If there was a class that I did not enjoy, I did not blame anyone but myself. My free public education has allowed me to become a teacher. A teacher who enjoys teaching all students but also one who does not allow the word bored to be used in her classroom. I believe in helping enable children to become problem solvers not complainers.
It never ceases to surprise me when an adult (and an educator never the less!) makes a comment such as this that there is something wrong with the child who is bored rather than with the lack of intellectual stimulation that the child is receiving. I might add that were the author of the above note to do her own comparison of educational systems she might start with checking out the statistics on this subject compiled by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Not a pretty picture. Or, perhaps, could I recommend Thomas Friedman's book "The World is Flat"? The only way I can reconcile such an attitude is that perhaps the writer was sufficiently stimulated by the level of education she received even though for others that would not have been enough.
Bored children ARE NOT spoiled children. We simply do not wish to sit in a classrom without anything to do. Teachers will only allow us to do the work they give, they want us to pay attention to what they are "teaching" us, though we have already grasped the concept, or already know it. Maybe we should stop seeing ourselves as "bored" children and as children who wish to be academically challenged, and are not able to be challenged. You have never been in our shoes, we might be able to fill time by doing "busy" work, or doing a project so we aren't bored, but the schoolwork we are REQUIRED to do wil never become interesting or challenging. This is a wonderful country, one of the reasons is because it is the land of opportunity. We should be given the opportunity to be challenged. We aren't "bored", we simply do not have to try in school, and wish would have to.
I have been going to a private school since 3rd grade. But first I was in a public school. My parents tried to get me skipped, but the school board wouldn't let me. So I ended up in private school. Third grade was good, I was adjusting to a new school, new kids, and an entirely different way to learn, but in fourth grade I got bored. At my school 4th and 5th graders have the same four teachers for both years. The teachers didn't know me, and decided not to skip me when my parents suggested it. I am glad they decided not to skip me now. But In middle school, I am getting A's and A+'s without studying at all, compared to A-'s, A's and A+'s in elementary school without sudying very much. I am bored, and my 4th and 5th grade literature teacher says that I would be able to handle being skipped. Since it is a small school, I know the kids in the grade above me. They are actually nicer to me than my own classmates. I even sat with them at lunch for most of the year. I get along better with them, and with the kids two grades above me. I am actually older than one of the girls in the grade ahead of me, and only a month younger than another. My parents are thinking about going to the heads of the entire school and the middle school.
And to you, who think bored children are spoiled children, we are NOT! We do not want to draw or read during class, not that many teachers even let us. We don't want to do work that we already know. Busy work isn't helping us. This is a land of opportunity, we should have the opportunity to skip.If we don't, we will end up lazy, and will cause trouble. If we don't get challenged now, we won't know what to do as adults when we are challenged in our job, we will be lazy, when we could be doctors finding a cure for AIDs or cancer.
I understand your feelings, but I've dealt with gifted children for years. I had a kindergarten boy who came to school knowing multiplication and long division. What was he supposed to do in a regular kindergarten classroom? What was the teacher supposed to do in the regular classroom? This young boy didn't know he was 'bored', he only knew he didn't want to do 1 + 1 = 2. We were able to accelerate him so that he could learn something new everyday. Every child deserves to learn something new every day.
Additionally, gifted students are still people--people who need to be challenged, not given busy work. Busy work for them, or for that matter anyone, consists of an assignment that has the student manipulating information that they already know. Usually it requires low level thinking skills such as facts and comprehension. This is not challenging, neither is it motivating. Without motivation anyone will look for something else that is motivating, such as disruptive behavior. Sometimes it leads to students merely tuning out and/or dropping out.
Ask yourself how long you would be able to stay focused if you had to take a class geared for 3rd graders. You've been socialized to behave in a respectful manner, but how long would those socialization skills keep you from getting bored? What would you do if this were the case year after year after year?
I am an English student and have begun researching into this field.
I have always been unchallenged at school and I find it to be unfair. I remain unchallenged at school and I feel like I'm not getting out my full potential at the year I'm in.
I have been mature beyond my years since a young age. Independent you may say, since the age of 7! I can socialize no matter who I'm put with. So why should I have to be waiting? It's a personal choice is it not? I know situations vary but if it does suite one talented child why should we all have to wait?
I'm currently at the level of people about to do GCSEs and A levels in England for ALL my subjects yet I am not aloud to proceed. Where's the justice in that? So why shouldn't I be aloud to gain my full potential, why should I have to wait and have it wasted?
I think that if your mature enough educationally, emotionally and socially there is no reason that you shouldn't be aloud to proceed. I think that the system should be accepted in more countries so nobody is left behind.
And if your wondering, I'm twelve.
Maybe your public school system provides something other than worksheets. My son actually rushes through the pile of sheets to read (chapter book, above grade level) and write stories. His teacher complains about this and says he's unmotivated. He's no longer permitted to read after completing the work but he can draw. The focus on testing has shifted the curriculum to not only teaching to a test but teaching by testing. Where's the teaching? Seriously, the only papers we get home are worksheets. Not one story, poem, science journal... nothing. As a teacher in an independent school I'm greatly saddened by the lack of challenge this public school offers. My son has skipped a grade and the only difference is the worksheets are longer.... sad! So, my kid is bored because he does the sheets from the worksheet books. Instead of reading after completing his work he's permitted to draw. His mind is thirsty for depth and the well is dry.
As a teacher and a mother I am absolutely tired of hearing that children are bored in school. I say bored children are spoiled children who have always been allowed to say they were bored as an excuse for not being able to think of something productive to do on their own. Pick up a book, write a story, solve a math problem! You don't always need someone to tell you what to do. Great minds take what assignments have been given to them and can independently stretch those activities into wonderful, creative products. It seems that in America we have forgotten what a wonderful FREE public education we have been given and instead of appreciating what we have over other countries we prefer to spend our energies bashing education. I have an idea for all those bored children- do an in-depth, independent research project on the educational systems, schools of other countries. Then perhaps you will become less "bored" and more grateful.
I recommend looking into a device called TeacherMate. You can google this article in the Christian Science Monitor: "TeacherMate: This classroom tool only looks like a toy". With a device like this in the hands of each student, all students could go through the curriculum at their own rate.
Our schools need to evolve to the point that students are no longer locked into certain grades. Kids need to be working at their own level and as fast as they are capable of in each subject, which could mean 3rd grade level in math and 5th grade level in English, etc. Also, failure is virtually eliminated when each student must reach a level of competence and knowledge in each course, however slow or fast that takes, before going on to the next course.
Until we can provide this sort of individualized instruction for each one of our children, our schools will not be successful at helping children reach their potential with a sense of confidence.
Some excellent learning models are Montessori schools, Sudbury Schools, Albany Free School, Waldorf Schools, and writers I recommend are John Taylor Gatto ("Dumbing Us Down"), Alfie Kohn ("Punished by Rewards"), Grace Llewellyn ("The Teenage Liberation Handbook"), and a great website can be found by googling "education revolution".