Educators educating Educators

Sep 26

Why Don't Students Like School?

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few people engage in it.” ~ Henry Ford


Why Don’t Students Like School? Because the Mind is Not Designed for Thinking.

By Daniel Willingham, American Educator, Spring 2009


At the start of his intriguing article in the Spring 2009 edition of the American Educator, Daniel Willingham asks, “Why is it difficult to make school enjoyable for students?”

Willingham does answer this question but first he states the following thought provoking theories:

1. Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not designed for thinking.

2. It’s designed to save you from thinking, because the brain is not very good at thinking.

2. Humans don’t thing very often because our brains are designed not for thought, but for avoidance of thought.

3. Thinking is not only effortful, as Ford noted, it’s also slow and unreliable.

4. Your brain serves many purposes, and thinking is not one it does best. Your brain also supports the ability to see and to move, for example, and those functions operate much more efficiently and reliably than our ability to think.

5. Thinking poses three problems. Thinking is slow; Thinking is effortful; Thinking is uncertain.

Use the link above to read the fascinating article discovering answers to the questions and practical classroom practices designed to overcome these obstacle and engage student thinking in class.


Welcome back to another school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and invigorating and you are looking forward to the approaching school year and the opportunity to stimulate and challenge your students’ minds.

This summer I was able to study Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education to governments, non-profits, and education organizations

I, like many people, find his writings and Ted Talks not only witty and inspiring but also thought-provoking and challenging. Much of his work deals with the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. He posits that the noticeable lack of them in our schools negatively affect students’ learning and teachers’ productivity and the absence of them is triggered by the demands of standardized testing.

I hope you find Sir Ken Robinson’s words inspiriting and challenging as I do and be mindful of them as you plan for the new year. Here is to a great 2017-2018 school year!