Marieme's Reviews > Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students

Doing School by Denise Clark Pope
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Jun 11, 2012

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bookshelves: 12th-grade-quarter-four

** spoiler alert ** Doing School: How We are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students

By Denise Clark Pope
Yale University Press. 240pp.
ISBN-13: 9780300098334

Although this book was written in 2003, everything in the book is very much relevant today, if not more now than it was then. This book by Denise Clark Pope explores the stories of a few students who go to elite high schools and follows what they do in order to succeed. Things range from pulling all-nighters, to cheating, to giving up social lives completely. All of these things eventually contribute to very unhealthy lifestyles and habits for these students. The students are aware of it, but still feel like if they want to do well in school, they have no other choice.

I read this book for my senior exit project because my topic was the mental and physical effects that academic competition has on students. This book was perfect for my research and I felt myself relating to a lot of what the students go to. Going to a very competitive high school, I don't have to time or the energy that other friends have to balance school work and other social things. It's either one or the other, and I know that if I don't want to fail, I have to choose academics over everything. I've definitely burnt out and so have the students in this story.

Denise Clark Pope shows that all of the stress and competition that have been coupled with academics have taken away the love of learning for many students. Students find themselves taking classes and doing well because they have to in order to get into a good college, rather than because they love the subject and are passionate about it. Academic competition is only going to increase as our world in general continues to become more competitive. After reading this book and from my own experience, I'm not sure that there's any clear solution to what must be done.

I think that high school students and all educators need to read this book. They need to see what the lives of most students are like and see how damaging everything is to them. Perhaps the change can beging with the educators.

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