Numb in SchoolSep 11, 2023
"He sits there and keeps his down and just does his work. He's such a good student."
"Mary was diagnosed with cancer and we didn't even know! She's such a trooper."
"Juan barely talks and responds only when called upon."
"They're such a difficult student. They fidget all day and need all these stimulations just to get a simple task done."
Heard those statements before? Made those statements before? That is what it sounds like when educational numbness is the expectation. Somehow, (and we can trace it far back into early schooling practices and our socialization) we've arrived at this moment in U.S. society where body management and body control in schools is part of the goal. It's called classroom management. It's about power and the management of bodies. It's about being numb in the classroom. This expectation is placed both on the teacher and the student.
Check out this article in MindShift (2021) where Lorena was interviewed about educational numbness and how Textured Teaching addresses it. In the article, it explains:
"A series of Gallup surveys calls the decline in engagement from grades 5 through 12 an "engagement cliff." In order to keep them engaged, students have called for more relevant curriculum, meaningful work and hope, according to the survey."
There are school-based responses that can address this decline and that can speak to the whole person. While life at home and other non-school elements impact student life that cannot be ignored, we also have to take account for what school(ing) does to contribute to this. For too long we've mainly focused on the 'what': what teachers are teaching, what students are reading, what students are studying... and not enough attention was paid to the 'how': how students feel in schools, how rules are treating students, how teachers are engaging, and more.
And if you're interested in fighting educational numbness in your own setting, then get Textured Teaching.
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