Who is responsible?
I recently stumbled upon this conversation “When students tell you they are bored can we blame the students as well” via Twitter. It lead me to this page: “How to end the Dropout Crisis ten strategies for student retention“. In our county (Akershus) one of the questions the teachers are scored on by the students is this one: Does you teacher make you want to work and make you interested in this class?
As far as I can see most of the attention concerning this problem is what I would called “teacher centred”. No doubt the consequences of student dropouts are severe and no wonder the problems they cause are discussed in many countries.
Each year, more than a million kids will leave school without earning a high school diploma — that’s approximately 7,000 students every day of the academic year. Without that diploma, they’ll be more likely to head down a path that leads to lower-paying jobs, poorer health, and the possible continuation of a cycle of poverty that creates immense challenges for families, neighborhoods, and communities Edutopia..:
These are the same consequences in Norway as well. High school dropouts will have problems getting jobs. Some go back to school later when they are more mature, but that is a difficult and costly journey for many.
The article offers ten great strategies every school should consider. But what if the students remain bored even after all the efforts from school owner, school leaders and teachers? Who is responsible? I keep comparing schools in Norway with the school we visited in Lesotho and the engagement we saw there. I discussed this with my students after our return. How can students in Norway, most of them attending 1:1 schools, no shortage of food or clothes, be bored enough to drop out of school? How are teachers supposed to meet this challenge? In Lesotho I imagine school is a great alternative and the only pathway to a somewhat secure future. When the options are doing chores at home, helping your parents or grandparents looking after 12 children, I imagine the choice is easy. In Norway the questions we have to ask ourselves and the answers we get are different. How can school compete with the luxury of staying at home with high speed internet, cable tv and a comfortable bed, or just using school as a meeting place for friends? My answer is to start using computers to make learning more relevant, starting to connect with other parts of the world, learning about different cultures and having students ask and answer the questions. But sometimes even that is not enough. Then what?