Our Kids Are More Than SubGroups

threefriendsThe picture on the left is of three friends who have been close since pee-wee football. We are in Texas. It’s the “thing” here. The boy on the left is my son. During the school year, I’ve asked these boys time and again about their enjoyment of school. Each time, they divulge in extended laughter followed by rolls on the floor. They are, after all, teenage boys.

We’ve talked often about their use of technology in their “21st century school”. Those conversations tend to be swift as they never use technology. They have smartboards, which are awesome for the movies that they watch. (sarcasm)

Their cell phones are collected and sold back for the bargain price of $15 if caught. Every now and then, an “innovative” teacher will have them use google to search for information. They are consumers and more importantly, they are BORED.

In meetings, he and his friends are given a name…sub group (African American). Questions are raised like…[What needs to be done so that this “sub-group” doesn’t make us academically unacceptable.] I know this because I used to cringe in those meetings.

Today, I asked my son and his friends what would excite them about school. This is what they said…

Make school interesting. Give us stuff to do and to make. Let us have fun. Let us use technology and let us talk.

In case anyone is wondering how to engage this “subgroup”, here is what you need to do…

  1. Quit thinking of them in terms of a subgroup! How do you engage ALL KIDS?
  2. Build relationships. Understand all kids for who they are and go to that to help envelope them into their learning. This includes their culture.
  3. Involve the community. I grew up with the village that raised me. That hasn’t changed much.
  4. Ask them questions but also allow their questions in response. Kids need to feel valued and that they have a voice too.
  5. Change your perception of technology if it is antiquated. Kids are using tech all day, even when you think that they are not. They are….Trust me
  6. Give all kids options to learn…not just how, but WHAT!
  7. Let them create…Creating unlocks “wonder”. Encourage their WONDER.
  8. Empower them to publish. Share what they are creating with an audience, including their own peers.
  9. Treat them as human beings. This is important and probably the most important of all.
  10. Challenge them to be critical thinkers. Stop living beneath the comforts of worksheets and textbooks. Challenge our kids to do more because they are meant to be more.

Excite them to learn and they will.

PS: If your school is struggling with the creation part, I know people and we can help.

Comments 6

  1. Love it!!! It is so important for
    Us to get past the subgroups and begin looking at what we can do to inspire all our kids…. Learn about and make all cultures feel welcome in your
    Room…. Think like a kid what would be your idea of fun learning… Technology is a no brainer most of my first graders can work it better than me:)

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      I don’t know if we will ever get there, but we should. All that I want is for my son to learn…and enjoy the process. Shouldn’t be too much to ask, right?

  2. My son just graduated from High School this year. He is a smart and dynamic kiddo who could have excelled in school as evident of his regents exams scores (88+). Instead he was what the principal called an “under achiever- slacker” He too was bored in school- disconnected from teachers standing or sitting behind desks lacking passion for what excites our children about the world around them! I love your suggestions- now how to get our teachers to implement them? Why do we feel that we should not have to adjust or change our teaching to meet the children’s needs- but the children should change to meet ours? When we figure out how to implement universally your suggestions- then we will be preparing our children for the world (college included)!

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      I feel your pain. It’s going to take schools to admit that they have a problem. Admins will need to support. It is top down! I know that his school next year will make very few changes, but I wish that they would. I don’t know what our answer will be. I’m doing my best at home but it doesn’t help when I know that I’m sending him to a place where dreams go to die for kids like him…not for all, but for ones like him. That is crippling.

  3. Amen! My son had a similar experience as well. We must change as educators to fit the needs of our students!

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