Wednesday, February 28, 2007

High school students bored, risk dropping out: survey

Wed Feb 28, 8:17 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - High school students in the United States say they are bored in class and many have considered dropping out, according to a new survey.

In the report conducted by Indiana University, 75 percent of the 81,000 students who participated said they were bored in class because the material wasn't interesting and 31 percent said they had no interaction with their teacher.

"I think what is happening is students are not being involved in interactive ways in the teaching and learning," Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, project director of the university's Center for Evaluation Policy, said in an interview.

Instead of providing lectures, Yazzie-Mintz said teachers should consider other methods of teaching such as discussion and debate and group projects.

Yazzie-Mintz said teaching style, rather than class size, is largely responsible for this problem.

"I think great teachers, and there are many of them across the country, have big classes and do a great job of interacting," he said.

The questionnaire, which included results from 110 public and private schools, also found that 22 percent of students said they have considered dropping out and half of the respondents said they have skipped school.

Students who miss school are far more likely to consider dropping out, said Yazzie-Mintz, adding the findings may suggest a reason for schools to reconsider how they handle discipline for students who skip.

"Given there is such a dropout problem across the country this data can help principals look at ways to address this problem," he said.

Yazzie-Mintz recommended school leaders take the opportunity to talk to students and find out why they're skipping as opposed to punishing them with suspensions or detentions.

Among the other findings, while 80 percent of students said doing homework was important, less than half reported doing an hour or less of it each week.

What can we as teachers, parents and members of society do about this?

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