David Mitchell’s article, “You can’t ban boredom… it’s a life skill” was published in The Guardian online in order to express his opinions on the recent ‘crackdown’ on ‘boring’ teachers by the Chief Inspector of Schools, Christine Gilbert; Having read and considered these arguments, I must agree with many of his views. Mitchell’s first point outlines how getting rid of every single boring teacher is going to be a very difficult task, as he says, “Well, if my experience of school is anything to go by, she may have to root out half the profession”.
Mitchell brings up a very valid point: in his opinion, he believes that half the teachers may have to be dismissed because of the routine activities used, such as writing out of a text book, which may appear to be boring for the average teenager, yet are highly effective in providing students with essential information they will need.
I strongly agree with his point of view, mainly for the reason where I believe teachers should at least attempt to make their lessons interesting, although at times ‘boring techniques, such as completing out worksheets and booklets, must be used in order for vital, key facts to be taught and so should not be put discarded entirely. Mitchell may have exaggerated the fact that Christine Gilbert would have to ‘root out half the profession,’ as if that were to be the case then there would be an incredibly low number of teachers across the country, leading to a huge crisis.
The next point Mitchell addresses, creates a huge impact as he questions how Christine Gilbert will get rid of boring teachers, acknowledging the fact it is a difficult task. He asks, “Perhaps she’ll ask the boring teachers to own up? But the most mind numbing of people are usually unaware of it”. This is certainly true, as in my experience many teachers may not realise when they conduct a boring lesson; however, this doesn’t mean that all teachers are boring all of the time.
Surely we cannot condemn teachers as a result of being boring once in a while? have been in situations where the best methods used for students have been repetitive and teacher led, yet has been the most efficient technique used as well. After all, teaching is not about entertaining, but in actual fact about preparing for life in the real world. Mitchell goes on to argue his view that he clearly dislikes ‘popular’ teachers, and this can be seen when he states, “The kind of smug, preening, self-styled, ‘popular’ teacher, who encourages pupils to use his first name”. He portrays to the reader how teachers crave to impress students, rather than teach them key life skills.
In his view, having a formal relationship with a teacher gives students a more realistic ideal of how they would have to act in the real world. If they have no figure of authority, they will never mature. However, as a student I prefer having teachers that I can have an informal relationship with as I felt more comfortable around them. This enables me to respond to questions with confidence and I am able to ask relevant questions when I need to. Mitchell comments on the amount of money lost through a lack of education, stating “innumeracy is costing the taxpayer ? 2. 4bn a year”.
This statistic clearly shows that such unattractive topics must still be conducted at school, as it will prepare them for later life once they settle into one career. Looking at his view from this point, any intelligent, sane person will agree with Mitchell where he says maths should not be scrapped just so students can enjoy themselves more, as they will be greatly affected progressing through life. Mitchell also goes on to say, “Children either have to grid their brains and get to grips with it or severely risk having a shit career”.
Here, he looks at the effect abandoning core subjects will have on the lives of the newer eneration, has it would result in the under development of vital skills needed to sustain a good standard of living. Discarding essential subjects such as maths in order to replace them with media studies and dance should not be allowed, purely for the reason that without vital skills and knowledge, you simply will not be able to move on in the ‘real world where skills obtained from subjects, such as dance, will only be able to do so much. Near the end of the article, Mitchell states that he strongly believes how boredom is simply “another word for concentration”.
He tries to convince the reader how these two concepts are actually related, however, I disagree with this because if you are concentrating very hard on the task at hand, it does not prove to say that you cannot be bored, and as being bored is a sense of not being entertained it has nothing in common with the concept of concentrating. Personally, the words concentration and boredom cannot be linked in any manner at all. Whilst making his last points before ending the article, Mitchell conveys his view of students getting bored too easily as, “their minds being too active and creative to be tied down for one long task”.
This theoretically portrays the idea of younger people not being able to do long tedious tasks, without the need to make them more enjoyable. I strongly agree with his point here: nowadays students are more concerned about the enjoyment related to such tasks rather than the beneficial advantages. To conclude, I mostly agree with Mitchell’s point of view, as teachers don’t attempt to make lessons more enjoyable and interesting; however, nobody got anywhere in the first place without some boredom, and therefore I believe it is impo