All work, No play

Many years ago, young students walked into their classrooms eager to be with their friends and learn. While elementary students still learned the same subjects as high school students, they were taught in fun, creative ways. For example, building blocks to help count and learn numbers or writing exciting stories all about their life. High School students still count and write stories, but not in the way they want to. 

The traditional American high school can be compared to a factory, in which kids are treated like products and crammed with knowledge before they’re thrown out of the assembly line. Though high school students don’t want to be taught in childish ways, they still would like to enjoy learning. Students are more eager to participate and take chances when teachers incorporate activities that make learning interesting and enjoyable. For example, students tend to love classroom competition, such as live quiz games like Kahoot! and Quizlet Live. Students who are having fun while learning are more likely to remember what they are learning since the experience is enjoyable and memorable.

“I would change the setting of the classroom,” senior Donavin Pignanello said. “Even if it was just in town, I would want to leave the classroom. I would also like more hands-on assignments.”

Changing the setting of a classroom could bring out the creativity in students and make them actually excited to come to school. In spite of the fact that some kids may treat areas outside of school like “recess,” places like museums or historic buildings can create a learning atmosphere for students. 

“I enjoyed the stock market assignment in my intro to business class because I thought it was interesting and was actually important information,” Pignanello said.

Pignanello later said he wasn’t actually interested in investing in stocks, he just enjoyed learning about business and real things going on in our country. Many students prefer to learn about real-life topics, such as mortgages and taxes, instead of writing essays and solving tough math equations. 

“There is only so much I can do to make it more engaging, but there is a point in life where you have to do things you don’t want to do,” English teacher Rita Stricklin said.

Stricklin has a good point that in high school, topics are tough, and there is not much you can do to make it more exciting. There is pretty much no way to make an English essay “fun” to write, unless it is a topic you enjoy, but usually it never is in high school. Assignments like these are dreadful, but need to get done.

During high school, we are focusing a lot more on critical thinking, which can be more stressful than motor skills. Because we have already learned the basics of subjects, such as math and English, high school goes more in depth with these subjects for more of a challenge. 

Realistically high school will never be as fun as elementary school because it may have been more exciting, but the point of it was to explore fundamental academic skills. Elementary students learn basic knowledge and socialization skills by playing together, reading as a class, learning shapes and numbers and many other activities.

As grade-levels progress, there is more opportunity to engage students in higher order thinking strategies. For instance, elementary teachers may use technology to display content or build skills with their students. However, as students progress in technology and take on more independent learning skills, they are ready to be challenged to use technology as tools for learning. High school focuses a lot more on teaching students to show how they can do things on their own. 

High school students miss being eager to go to school and wish that they could learn subjects that will be useful later in life. Many believe that classes such as math and science will not help them as they get older and would prefer learning about what is happening in today’s world, taxes, mortgages, and other adult topics. In order for this to happen, and for high schoolers to be excited to go to school, schools’ entire curriculums may have to be changed.