This issue was raised here in Canada some years back when research told us how one in three boys never finishes highschool. Everyone had a theory. Some schools segregated boys and girls, they did all sorts of weird things.
but only one
researcher did the abominal blasphemy of all blasphemies.
she asked the boys
Of course this research will never get much airplay, it was a footnote on the newscast I saw, but nonetheless, it was there. I believe she was in Edmonton, Alberta, but I do know she was giving a small group of Especially At Risk
boys. So she asked them, outright, straight off, "Why don't you like school?
Do you know what they said? Sure you do: School sucks
" she continued, "What doesn't 'suck'?
" And do you know what they said? Don't lie to me, of course you do. You know, I know and what is worse, all our educators know
: The boys said, Video Games
" she continued, "Tell me about video games.
" and she discovered that these boys knew everything there was to know about games, about how they are made, who writes them, about game economics, distribution, 3d rendering issues, about computers about gaming machines. She reported finding a graduate-school-level understanding among these 'at risk' boys!
She reported that the boys could predict the plot of games knowing who wrote it, and you find me just one high-school english honours student who can predict the end of a novel simply knowing Jane Ayer wrote it!
Are you still with me? The key to the situation was not legroom or phys-ed, the key to the situation was relevence
. Dig? Cool. Now, here's what this woman did. Unrepentant and unsatisfied with stomping on the very first Prime Rule of Child Psychology (asking the kids what's bugging them) she did the next most even more blasphemous thing, and questioned the curriculum
Egad, what balls she had. Oops, sorry, I should keep this civil
What she did next was to re-write
the entire high-school curriculum within the context of video gaming
, completely, everything, bend every subject into the context that is interesting and vital and relevent
to the children. They work together to design, build, market and manage a ficticious video game, research their competition, everything pointed in that interesting
and do you know what she found? Of course you do: Every one of these 'at risk' students passed with honours.