Too much fun

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Too many adult children are living in the basement of their parents’ houses, unready to launch.

Educators may have to shoulder at least part of the blame. We are taught to entice our students to learn through the use of computer programs and Smart Boards. We are taught to keep the pace active and entertaining, to engage our students. American education is designed to entertain children and adolescents, even in school.

Unfortunately, much of that fun originates outside of America’s children, from videogames, televisions, IPads, and smartphones, among other devices. Our children text each other nonstop as they wait for us to provide them with their next set of marching orders. The devices are almost never off. Texting is about as quiet as it gets and it’s not uncommon for adolescents to text through the night.

Our children are not learning to entertain themselves. From the outside, that fact is not always apparent. That girl who sits playing with her IPad at the adjacent restaurant table may appear to be keeping herself occupied. But who is entertaining whom? I would say some savvy software developers are amusing that girl. The gadget is active. The girl is reactive — and she may be essentially reacting through almost all of her day.

What’s the problem? I see a number of problems, but one that glares out at me lately has to do with teaching. We put the responsibility for engagement on the teachers, as if teachers are walking, breathing  programs on an IPad. We put almost no (or no!) responsibility on students to engage themselves.