Student boredom can be a concern of parents, administrators, teachers, and students, as it may effect performance in the classroom. So, what can be done to address boredom? Please read the following articles; you may gain a fresh perspective.
A primer for gifted students and their parents
Do you often say, “I’m BORED”? First, recognize that it is ok to be bored sometimes. Boredom is a state that we all feel at one time or another. Assure yourself that everyone has periods when they are not interested in what is happening or when they have to do repetitive tasks. If you are bored a lot, you need to learn how to deal with boredom.
The first step to overcoming boredom is to analyze what being bored means to you. Here are some helpful hints to face boredom head-on:
1. Try keeping a boredom log for 2 weeks to help determine the frequency, intensity and severity of the boredom [attachment 1]. Chart specific information about the periods of boredom. Track the following information:
- Time of Day – early morning, before lunch, 2 hours after lunch, end of the school day, after school, evening
- Type of Activity – repetitive, waiting, writing, reading, listening, other
- Content Area – history, reading, math, science, language, other
- Location – home, school, with friends, with adults, alone, other
- Feelings – fear or risks, fear of failure, confused, lack of choice, left out, lack of direction
After 2 weeks look at the log. If a pattern appears try to determine what is causing these boredom feelings. A parent or teacher can help you interpret the information you gather and help you develop coping options and make a plan.
1. If boredom at school is a serious problem, talk to your parents and teachers. Find out more about your learning style. Ask for alternative tasks that meet your learning style whenever possible. If your teacher is not open to substitutions, the other options may still be used as ways to reinforce the learning, or perhaps be offered as extra credit. As you get older you can select instructors whose teaching style best meets your learning style.
2. Keep a Relevancy Log [attachment 2]. This will help you determine how interesting and useful a subject is to you.
3. Complete a Boredom Proneness Scale [attachment 3] to determine how easily you get bored.
Once you have more information you can make a plan of action. Decide which areas are easiest to address or what coping options can be changed. Sometimes it will require a change in the situation. In the classroom, for example, not everything is adaptable. If you wish to ask for a change in the classroom, approach the teacher in a positive way. Your parents can help with this.
More often, a change within oneself is the easiest to control. Linda Deal (The Boredom Solution) suggests the following:
- Don’t expect the situation to change – look for ways to make it more interesting.
- Choose to work with people who are excited about what they are doing when given a choice of work partners.
- Ask to sit somewhere in the room where you feel more involved in what’s going on. Often bright students are well-behaved so they get moved to the back of the room where it is easy to lose focus.
- Have a list of things you can do when bored. Maybe reading a book, drawing, writing in a journal, etc.
- At home, stay away from the television – instead select after-school activities that are more active.
- Practice self-talk if you need to work on changing your sense of time. For example, “I will work 2 more minutes” or “I can meet this challenge if I try.” It can be as simple as the power of positive thinking.
To learn more about boredom and how to help your child cope, check out The Boredom Solution by Linda Deal, published by Dandy Lion Publications or Get Off My Brain: A Survival Guide for Lazy, Bored, Frustrated, and Otherwise Sick of School Students by Randall McCutcheon, published by Free Spirit Press.