Years ago, when my sons were teenagers, a teacher quipped (with, I thought at the time, his tongue firmly planted in his cheek) that Grade 7 kids should be sent off to an isolated island together to work through their hormonal issues, and then brought back for Grade 10, when you might actually be able to teach them something. This video might explain our shared frustration.
“We shouldn’t belittle adolescence, we should be honouring it for what it really is: the defining struggle; the moment when the next generation challenges the status quo and pioneers new ways of thinking and being that ensure our survival. Now just imagine if we actually gave adolescents the freedom to undertake that struggle.”
I will be on that bandwagon that figures out how to re-invent our education system to accomplish that goal. The teacher I mentioned above may have been being less facetious than I thought. Perhaps many of them should quit school (and have a very wise grandfather) since, “We just don’t learn something unless we’re emotionally engaged with it”.
In defense of the teachers I know, I believe they are quite aware and make valiant attempts to teach by doing, but their success with adolescents is still being stymied by our ‘system’. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the magic transformation theory that can gather immensely diverse teens together in a classroom or school with standardized legislated curriculum and assessment that pleases parents and government overseers. Have you?