Southlake, Texas (PRWEB) June 13, 2012
When a young person tells Jenifer Fox, leading educational author and Head of The Clariden School in Southlake, Texas, they find most subjects in school to be boring, she not only agrees, she claims that school boredom is a growing epidemic with mental health consequences and something for which schools must be held responsible.
To combat that boredom, Ms. Fox has developed the Global Strengths Program, a unique, applied learning environment focused on student strengths, cultivating innovation and preparing adolescents for the 21st century. “People have been studying the roots of boredom for years.”, says Ms. Fox. “It is commonly considered that people who are chronically bored share similarities with people diagnosed with chronic depression. When students find school boring, they struggle to pay attention.”
Jenifer Fox is on an educational mission to create a school environment for teens that is purposefully designed to keep them interested and engaged. “Today’s students are bored with the content of the curriculum we grew up with. We are used to saying, “tough luck, you have to learn it to get through school like we did.” That is truly illogical. If the world is no longer like it was when we were in school, why would we think teens still need to learn the same things as we did?”
The Global Strengths Program engages students in real world, authentic learning focused on doing as gateway to knowing rather than the reverse. “If you want a student to learn about chemistry, give them something real to do that applies those principles. Challenge them to invent a food substance that won’t expire for several years.”
The work of Dr. Al Cheyne, from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, has inspired the thinking behind Fox’s campaign to hold schools accountable for the engagement factor in the classroom. Cheyne says, “Attention is the common link between lack of meaning, boredom, and depression.” It is the chronic inability to focus on activities may render them effectively meaningless.
Jenifer Fox has seen the effects of boredom first hand. “Every day I meet with students who get good grades and score well on tests but look at me with a lack of luster and tell me that school is inherently boring and all kids do is to cheat to get by. Boredom results from lack of stimulation and lack of stimulation effects brain development. In middle school, the brain has the opportunity to surge with new development in the frontal lobes. If our schools are not engaging students during this stage of growth, we could be impacting their future development.”
The Global Strengths Program at The Clariden School is designed for families who want to see their children engaged in learning, eager to go to school and excited about the opportunities that await them in life. Although the approach is different from traditional educational environment, families who have already signed onto the new program embrace the program’s unique qualities. Parent Jil Metelski enrolled her son Patrik for the fall of 2012 because “the traditional public school was systematically extinguishing his natural curiosity and love of learning. When he left an informational project session at The Clairden School, he came home excited and energized about going to school.”
As the Global Strengths Program gears up for its inaugural year, Fox says, “We believe this is going to become a new standard. In a few months’ time, the success of the program and its’ approach will be evident by the work produced by these engaged students and the fulfillment they find in learning.”
The Clariden School of Southlake is the only non religiously affiliated prek-12 grade independent school in Southlake.