Beat Boredom by Martha Sevetson Rush | SLJ Review

Every dedicated educator knows the feeling of spending hours creating just the right assignment to pique the interest of students. But what happens when students don’t respond as expected?

redstarRUSH, Martha Sevetson. Beat Boredom: Engaging Tuned-Out Teenagers. 204p. bibliog. index. Stenhouse. Dec. 2017. Tr $32. ISBN 9781625311498.

Every dedicated educator knows the feeling of spending hours creating just the right assignment to pique the interest of students. But what happens when students don’t respond as expected? Author and teacher Rush expertly outlines six strategies for engaging “tuned-out teenagers”: storytelling, discussion and debate, problem-based learning, simulation, competition, and authentic tasks. Before sharing her nuggets of wisdom, she outlines why boredom is pervasive and damaging to students. Though she acknowledges that there are barriers to change, she encourages teachers to take these risks in order to amp up student engagement. Rush explores why and how to use each strategy, examines challenges, and offers tips. Her ideas apply to a wide cross section of high school disciplines and are supported with research. Anecdotal material provides educators with models that invite experimentation within the classroom. Never preachy, Rush’s easy writing style, augmented with examples of student work, invites novice and experienced teachers to incorporate these strategies into their current practice. VERDICT The suggestions for implementation coupled with an honest evaluation of potential difficulties make this an invaluable resource for teachers who want to take their craft to the next level of proficiency.–Jodeana Kruse, R.A. Long High School, Longview, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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