After finding the right school for our pre-teen daughters, we realized there might be a drawback. An hour bus ride or longer in Atlanta traffic. I remember the school administrator’s pitch – this ride allowed the kids to learn “social skills”, to study or just to relax. It turned out, our girls never did complain much about the trek. He seemed to be right.
So I was interested in this article by NY Times writer Sam Dillon about a new trend – wired buses? Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus Into Rolling Study Hall. Apparently, there is a Tuscon, Arizona school district that is touting real results. By allowing kids to do their homework to and from school, performance is improving. Most are very pleased with the new bus.
I am not sure how I feel about this. Easy for me to say as an adult, but isn’t the school bus a kind of learning lab for social interaction? We learn how to make conversations and talk to people different than ourselves. We even get some experience in fending off the mean girls and rough boys. And what about getting the real scoop about teachers and school policies, etc.??? All of these are skills that serve us well as we swing through the workplace.
At the same time it seems that allowing introverts the chance to retreat before they have to interact all day at school could be a plus. And how about the extroverts? Might they benefit from a bit of quiet before they hit the school yard? I guess having Facebook available could serve some of their socializing needs.
With the choice of retreating into our laptops 24-7, we need to allow some time to engage with others. Otherwise those people skills become rusty and it is too easy to miss even the beauty of the Arizona landscape.