The Antithesis of Boring

Posted on January 10, 2013

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I was just doing a thought experiment around the idea of students having a clicker in their hand where they could signal how bored they were with the current class.

They would be able to push a dial up to 10, with 10 meaning extremely bored. A computer would receive the feedback and aggregate it across the entire class, giving the teacher instant feedback about how bored the class was.

This may be a ridiculous situation, but personally if I were a teacher, I think it would be an interesting experiment. If I receive a lot of “bored” feedback, what would I do about it, though?

Which brought me to the question, what is the antithesis of boring?

The immediate thought I had would be to entertain the students. Jump on the tables, do a dance, maybe have them stand up and do a more physical activity.

But the more I thought about it the more I realized that entertainment wasn’t truly the antithesis of boring. It seemed to be more of a distraction from boring.

I think the real antithesis of boring is actually challenge. Appropriate challenge.

As in it can’t be too easy (boring) and it can’t be too hard (stressful / frustrating). That sweet-spot of challenge, though, what might be described as stimulating or engaging, is the more substantive way to combat boredom.

I’m not exactly sure how I would create appropriate challenges for students in a classroom. It depends on the subject being taught, but I think I would focus my efforts on creating appropriate challenges in order to combat boredom.

Anyways just food for thought.

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