Sunday, November 28, 2010

Are Students Getting Dumber?

Is that wrong of me to say that as a teacher, or am I within my right? I just finished entering report card grades, final exams, projects, etc., and from seniors to sophomores the majority is failing!

Am I a hard grader? In one sense, yes I am. I have extremely high expectations for my students, especially the boys class. However, if you do my homework and participate there should be no reason for you to fail my class because the quizzes and exams come straight out of the homework. I'll go it one further, before every big test I usually play some form of review game where I'm actually giving them the actual test - AND KIDS STILL FAIL!!

Now we find out the English Regents has be chopped down to one day, instead of being two days and four essays, now it's a bunch of multiple choice questions and a partial written essay. Did the powers that be up in Albany do this to make the lives of English teachers less stressful or is it because no one wants to admit that this generation is getting dumber and dumber by the minute.

Teens today are as my brother calls them "screenagers" because everything they do is connected to a screen. And the speed at which they can get what they want is merely a click away. No one researches any more. No one spends hours upon hours doing homework like we used to. No one goes to the library all day on a Saturday to get a project done. Ok, ok, I know that is a seriously gross exaggeration because I know that the parents of my generation are trying like hell to make their kids do what we did, but the power of "stupid is cool" and "I don't need no education cuz look at all these stars and athletes that made it without one" is overwhelming. I burnt? Have I become bitter? Or are these kids really just that dumb? Ok, lazy? Thoughts??


Sharky said...

Hi, I just wanted to add my two cents, not as a working teacher, but a mere cultural observer. I think people/kids are as smart as they've ever been, but it is perhaps culture that dumbs down from generation to generation. Once upon a time people read books for entertainment, and that was just about all there was for distraction and high drama.

Anyway, American society steadily went from books, to TV, to film to internet, all the while working less and less for the entertainment. So the kids we see today are not unintelligent, it's just that their intelligence is geared toward a digital age, while school is geared toward the once upon a time age of books and actual reading (how many adults read books today as compared to even ten years ago?).

Anyway, i'm rambling.. but the internet and digital media have changed adults and kids and it's tough to be a teacher who's working against culture, fashion and media.

My guess is that the kids will turn out ok, one way or another, just as every generation finds its way through into unknown future.

Jen said...

Ohhhhhhh...I completely sympathize!!! I am both comforted and SCARED that I'm not the only one seeing this trend. Depressing, huh?

Hayden M. Greene said...

A few years ago, I coined the phrase "Google Knowledge" to describe the way the my students interacted with the world. What I was referring to was the way that they just skimmed the surface of any topic. In this immediate gratification generation, Google (and other search engines) has spoiled students. Used to be that you would have to read deep into a book to get some of the answers that you needed. More than likely you probably finished the book. Now students type in a key word and a bunch or Google excerpts come up. Here is where the problem lies: students are either clicking on the FIRST one they see or they are just reading the blurbs and taking it as the entirety of information on that subject. The result is a very surface level type of knowledge and a general reluctance to dig deeper into information. Consequently, they live their lives like that: now really getting deep into any thing and accepting the bare minimum as enough for them to move forward.

They are by far more stimulated that we are which should make them smarter. However, due to information overload, they don't really have a deep understanding of any one thing with is the first building block of intelligence. So are they getting dumber? Yes! Are their brains any different than ours? NOT AT ALL. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I am mothering two kids in the new york ciy public school system, and I must say while you expect alot from your students, alot of others do not. All around expectations are low and the kids are living down to them. I find myself mourning what seems a rapid decline of our youth. How many of your colleagues and parents have given up or just don't care? Children feel that.