The Dumbest Generation by Mike Bauerlein

March 26, 2010
By DanielleWard BRONZE, Missoula, Montana
DanielleWard BRONZE, Missoula, Montana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Think back to when you were in high school. Did you like your teachers? What about your classes? Did you learn anything? Let me ask that a different way. Do you remember half the stuff that you were taught? I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t remember anything near half all the things I’ve been taught. This could be due to the way that I was taught, however. Mike Bauerlein, the author of The Dumbest Generation, states “What young Americans need isn’t more relevance in the classroom, but less …Young people need mentors not to go with the youth flow.” I disagree. Relevance is what we need in schools. Students are more capable of learning when they are taught using methods they know.

Take Monkseaton High School, England’s first Trust school (Monkseaton), in Tyne and Wear, England. Louise Dickson, the science teacher, uses basketball to help her students retain information longer. She has her students dribble basketballs in between lessons to keep their minds concentrated. This method of teaching is known as ‘spaced learning.’ The National Institute for Child Health and Development in the United States reports that developing brain cells form most effectively when the brain is given regular breaks. One of her students, Scott Purcell, 16, raised his grade from a D to a C because of this new way that Monkseaton is teaching. (Revealed)

If this doesn’t convince you, these schools in Scotland might. It was been shown that teaching with video games improves learning skills. Yes, that’s right, I said video games. About 900 students in 16 different schools in Scotland are required to play on a Nintendo DS before coming to class. It improves retention in math and also behavior and concentration levels. (Revealed)

A report, Learning: Creative Approaches That Rise Standards, based on 44 schools in England, shows that student based teaching methods do in fact improve their ability to retain information. In one case, a school used drums to help kids memorize their times tables. At another school, the teacher told students to come up with a dance routine to help them understand chemical bonding in science. The same school also set up a fake crime scene in the gym to get students interested in forensic science. A citizenship class teacher came to school dressed in a kilt to teach the development of democracy. (Dance and fashion)

Students don’t need to be taught the old fashioned way; times are changing as well as the people in it. We have to adjust to the changes that are occurring and find a way that works with them. As Alan McMurdo of Thomas Deacon Academy says, “If people went to the doctor and were treated the same way today as they would have been 30 years ago, there would be a national outcry. So how can we expect school to stay static?” (Revealed)

Works Cited

“Revealed: new teaching methods that are producing dramatic results.” Telegraph 17 April 2009, Print. Revealed-new-teaching-methods-that-are-producing-dramatic-results.html

Paton, Graeme. “Schools using dance and fashion to get bored pupils interested in maths.” Telegraph 15 Jan 2010, Print.

Monkseaton High School website

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