Thursday, February 5, 2015

What do 10th graders at an International School care about?

There are so many assumptions made about teenagers without ever consulting them. Every generation has its labels and this one is no different. But how often do we ask teenagers what is important to them. What do they care about?

As I've written about before, out school holds an annual mandatory speech contest. This provides an excellent window into our students' priorities and values. Knowing what they care about will help me be a better teacher, so that I can make my lessons relevant to their interests. Here is a list of their topics:


  • Schools should ban computer use
  • Everyone should know how to code
  • Technology is taking over our lives
  • Technology is increasing the wealth gap
  • War technology creates a disconnect between the bomber and the victims
  • Piracy is immoral
  • Space exploration is still crucial

Emotional Well Being

  • Mental Illness should be taken more seriously
  • Middle Child Syndrome is a real illness
  • Stop ruminating
  • Say yes to life
  • Enforce a four-day-work week
  • Baking is therapeutic
  • Nothing in life matters, so don't get so upset about everything
  • Success involves hard work and luck
  • The soul exists
  • Intuition is important to develop
  • Count your blessings
  • Cursing is good for you
  • Love yourself
  • The value of internal motivation

Physical Health

  • Why obesity is a serious problem
  • Eat a pepper every day
  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Why everyone should be a vegetarian
  • Sleep is important
  • Ride a bike to work
  • Lefties are superior to righties

Politics, Religion, and Social Policy

  • Religious extremism is and always has been a great world problem
  • It's time for anarchy
  • Beware of cults
  • Child Soldiers should be a UN priority
  • Street art should be considered equally to other types of art
  • It is wrong to hold whales in captivity
  • Video games do not cause violence in youth


  • Being a 3rd Culture Kids opens your eyes to the world
  • Take a Gap Year
  • Why there should be no speech contest
  • Should students be allowed to choose their teachers
  • Everyone should read more


  • Everyone should be a fan of a sports team
  • Professional soccer needs video replays
  • Why everyone should be part of a sport team

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