JIM MINSTRELL Department of Science and Mathematics Mercer Island High School
Too many students view school as boring and irrelevant to their lives. To them the content of courses does not seem to relate to their present or to their future. The pace of the teaching, which may be aimed at the middle, is too fast for many and too slow for others. The methods by which they learn are too often teacher controlled and the learner is put into a passive role of recipient of information rather than as an active participant who is responsible for her or his own education. Individuals who have ideas are not often given sufficient opportunity to share them with another caring, but analytically critical, student or teacher. Frequently, students report the greatest benefit of school is that it is a place to be with one's friends.
Caring teachers feel overworked and misunderstood. It often seems their purposes are to count students to justify state financial support, to control students so that the school appears orderly for the administration, to march through the curriculum to meet the coverage prerequisite for the next level, and to keep the students occupied and out of mischief while parents are away during the day.
I come to the writing of this chapter with a wealth of classroom experience but with very limited experience in the use of technology to enhance educa-