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Goldie’s response to Sam Intrator & Robert Kunzman’s

WHO ARE ADOLESCENTS TODAY? Youth Voices and What They Tell Us

Intrator and Kunzman answer the title question by saying it all “depends on who answers it” (29). A teacher would say that the students have no manners (29), while my pastor would say something like “We have an outstanding group of young people who have proven themselves to be role models for the younger ones.” But who do the adolescents say they are? These two authors say that we have neglected to ask them (adolescents) who they really are academically.
In this article, the authors and other researchers do ask a group of adolescent students what they think about their current school experience. Flutter and Rudduck uncovers the answer. The students say that their learning experiences are boring (37). In my middle and high school years, I remember saying the same thing about some of my classes.
Flutter and Rudduck states that the way students describe boredom and being disengaged in school related task is alarming because of having to be actively engage in the learning process (37). The two researchers conclude that some students don’t care and are on their way to dropping out of school (38). But what can we do to cure some of their boredom and possibly prevent them from dropping out of school? What do they want from us as educators?
Wilson and Corbett inform us that students want affirmation, acceptance, and support from adults who work with them in the classroom setting (39). I wholeheartedly agree with them. That affirmation, acceptance, and support combo is the same principle that our church youth group leaders practice with the youths. This practice is one reason why students come back to the junior classes at the church. Wilson and Corbett’s findings line up with a quote that I read somewhere. “Students don’t care how much you know. They only want to know how much you care.”
To sum it all up, students want to learn. We, as educators, have to include them in the planning process by asking the adolescent students questions that pertain to the learning process. We should consider asking them:
How do you learn best?
What helps you to learn? What gets in the way of your learning?
Why do you find it more difficult to learn certain things?
Do you learn better through particular styles of teaching?
What encourages you to work harder at your learning?
How do you know if you have succeeded in learning something? (37)
After asking these questions, the hope is that we get an answer that will help us help them to learn and become interested in their own education and not consider dropping out of school.