Bored with school! Bored with life? Well-being characteristics associated with a school boredom mindset

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Michael Furlong,
Douglas C. Smith
Tina Springer
Erin Dowdy


Students’ experiences of boredom at school are receiving increased research attention. Most inquiries to date have focused on how often students experience boredom in classroom situations and in specific subject areas. Despite its frequency, limited research efforts have explored how students’ boredom experiences might inform positive education initiatives. This paper examines students’ school boredom experiences from a positive education lens through which school mental health professionals can evaluate students’ school boredom experiences systematically. We introduce the School Boredom Mindset (SBM) concept that identifies a subset of high-risk students expressing unfavorable school attitudes. A preliminary analysis of 2,331 California secondary (Grades 7-12) students’ responses on well-being indicators explored the SBM’s viability. The findings show that students with the strongest SBM reported substantially lower well-being than their peers. The discussion offers suggestions for future research needed to evaluate the SBM concept’s meaning and the value of its contribution to positive education. While this research moves forward, we provide practitioners with resources to better evaluate students’ boring feelings at school and consider its meaning within the broader effort of fostering thriving well-being

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