Why Kids Need To Be Bored: A Case Study of Self-Reflection and Academic Performance

This case study involved three middle school students in an assessment of the influence of self-reflection on general academic performance. It was hypothesized that increased self-reflection would have a positive influence on academic performance as measured by grades on tests, writing assignments, and homework. The participants were ages 13.4, 13.5, and 13.8. The study covered three months and was divided into two stages. During the first stage (month 1), the participants kept daily logs of all activities and were asked to write in their personal journals for 15 min each day. Logs indicated that participants devoted an average of 42.2 hrs per week to watching TV, playing computer and video games, listening to music, and talking on the telephone. During the second stage (months 2 and 3), participants limited TV, computer and video games, music, and telephone time to 30 min per day; in the time made free thereby, they were to read, sit quietly, write in their journals, meet with friends, and so on, provided these activities did not include any of the proscribed activities. Two of the participants dropped out of the study within 2 weeks, stating that they could not bear the lack of electronic activities. The remaining participant succeeded in modifying her schedule, followed by improvement in overall academic performance.

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Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2006