Thursday, March 6, 2008

What's Your Favorite Subject?

I recently surveyed 242 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at my school about their feelings about school, the library, and video games. This is part of a study I'm doing to look at how the introduction of video and computer games to the library impacts student behavior, engagement, and performance. I have only just begun the tedious work of compiling the data, but curiosity overwhelmed me this afternoon, so I took a premature look at a few of the results. So far, I've only tabulated data for forty-eight 8th-grade boys. Take a look at their favorite and least favorite classes.

Favorite Class
Math 19%
Science 15%
PE 35%
Drama 0%
Digital Art 4%
English 10%
Social Studies 0%
Art 2%
Computers 13%
Service (Office helper) 2%
Dance 0%

Least Favorite Class
Math 31%
Science 2%
PE 2%
Drama 10%
Digital Art 0%
English 15%
Social Studies 13%
Art 2%
Computers 0%
Service 0%
Dance 1%

I wonder how this will pan out when all 242 surveys have been counted, and how boys will differ from girls. Where are our actors? Our Broadway dancers? Our Picassos? When do those talents begin to flourish? And what's wrong with Social Studies? Am I crazy, or are these boys saying that they don't really like maps?!? What's wrong with them? And aren't boys supposed to love math? Why do 31% of them hate it at this school?

I don't remember my favorite subjects in middle school. Because I got to attend a wacky magnet, my favorites might have been yoga, cross-stitch, or music video production. I know that 6th grade was a not a year for loving English class, since my teacher took points off of spelling tests when I didn't make my lowercase cursive 'b' properly (so unfair), not to mention the fact that she owned the exact same pair of ballet-style shoes with bows in about 14 different colors. And she made me read Jane Eyre. In 7th grade, the Art teacher taught science, but I can't remember if that made it my favorite or least favorite class. In PE, we got to roller-skate and square-dance. Who wouldn't like that? They did, however, make us do the dreaded "flexed arm hang" once a year for the presidential fitness test, which is enough to make anyone hate anything.

I'm eager to see the rest of my survey results, and will post them here as they come in.

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