Authored by Anne Schmidt, Supervisor – Prevention and Outreach Case Manager
Back to school can be an exciting time for some and a terrible time for others. Parents (and some kids) may be excited to get back into a routine, but for some youth returning to school is something that they really dread. With this sense of dread in mind, how do parents and their students make the best of returning to school and why do some kids really dislike attending school?
The answer to why some kids don’t like school is probably as varied as the number of kids in the world. In a Psychology Today article by Peter Gray http://ww.psychologytoday.com/blog, he argues that kids don’t like school because it’s like prison. He says, “the only difference I can think of is that to get into prison you have to commit a crime, but they put you in school just because of your age.” His argument continues that in school students are robbed of their freedom and dignity, told exactly what to do and punished if they don’t follow the rules.
Gray goes on to suggest that many school advocates say that it’s not school itself that is the problem but it’s the people who run the school who are the problem. Gray says these advocates are suggesting that if a school had an administrative overhaul schools would improve. Gray says that changing a school’s administration will not fix the problem. He says that the problem is that as human beings we are primed to want freedom and the rigor of school does not allow that. His suggestion is to have kids learn through “self-directed play and exploration.” Certainly there are many traditional schools that recognize the need for kids to spend time playing and exploring. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that kids need opportunities to move and learn about their environment.
The important thing to recognize is that the traditional education system may not be for every student. As parents it’s important to know what type of education would work best for your student. There are alternative high schools, online learning, charter schools and other options for parents and students looking for ways to gain an education. As a parent it’s important to realize that one size fits all doesn’t necessarily work for every student. Students benefit when their parents are their educational advocates. What do you think: are traditional schools or alternatives better for learning?
Youth Services is here to help support Parents and Teens. We offer many free services. Please call 385-468-4500 or visit our website: http://slco.org/youthto learn more.