Let’s think about those school practices that have actually been proven to be harmful to kids. Not big-picture issues. Instead, let’s sweat the small stuff that is very big in the eyes of the kids who are subjected to it.
Ten Small Ideas That Can Make A Big Difference
Get rid of it. Elementary grades: we should be giving none at all. Middle and high grades: only stuff that is supported by research. Don’t make kids work a second shift. Do we really have any idea the happiness this would bring to so many kids? Instant good will on the part of children, with accompanying positive impact on learning.
2. Extrinsic motivation
Snuff it out. No more lollipops for “good behavior,” no more rewards for conforming to adults’ expectations. Again, check out the research. All negative. Dump it.
3. Early start times for adolescents
Do you need to see any more research? Our high schools are full of zombies half asleep, half awake, all miserable. Let them sleep. It won’t kill us.
4. Cell phone ban
If you can’t hold their attention in competition with a cell, that’s not their problem.
5. Social media ban
Kids have the world at their fingertips…except in school. Figure out how to connect your classes to the world. Better still, let kids do it.
6. Restricting bathroom use
Stop making them wait to go to the bathroom when they have to go.
7. Restricting food consumption.
Stop the ban on food in the classroom. When kids are hungry, they should eat.
8. Limiting time for recess & socialization
Let them play. Let them hang out. Let them socialize.
9. Bad food
Get better lunch food, with kids playing a role in researching and deciding on menus.
10. Silencing Students
Give students a voice in the policies, procedures, and principles enacted in a school. After all they are the clients. They should have a say in how things are run.
Easy peasy, right? What else is there? What can you get started with where you work? Comment and share your strategies and ideas on ways to make kids happier in school, starting right now.
Thanks to Lisa Nielsen for her ideas!
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