What if every single student had a very small soundproof, enclosed workspace?
At my alma mater, in the Library there were a number of different study-place options. They recognized that each student is unique, and might therefore excel under different studying conditions. There were tables to study at, there were sound-proof rooms that could be reserved for small groups to talk and work together, and there were individual desks, with three sideboards, so a student could study without seeing anything other than what was on their desk. They called these special desks “study carrels” apparently from medieval Latin carula "enclosure in a cloister in which to sit and read," from Online Etymology Dictionary.
I’m sure a study has been done that links natural curiosity with inability to sit still and focus on an assignment, while sitting in a class full of other interesting kids to talk to. When I’ve asked highly intelligent teachers what single attribute they would wish upon any student for greatest long-term success in education, the answer is almost always, curiosity. Followed closely by work ethic.
If innate curiosity is such a desirable attribute, why would we ever try to frustrate its development in our children. Requiring a highly curious student to sit still and focus only on some boring worksheet, when the classroom is full of other interesting kids to talk to and things to see, would seem at the very least counter-productive , and possibly a cruel and unusual punishment.
What if instead of punishing curious students by forcing them to subjugate their own curiosity, we provided them an extremely low-stimulation location, that would allow their natural curiosity to focus itself on whatever classroom material was being presented? A very small, windowless room would provide just the environment.
This would naturally be a significant (expensive) change in the way things are done. Maybe an initial test could be conducted in a few classrooms, bringing in a few small soundproof booths that could be used either voluntarily, or under the teacher’s direction. It would be interesting to see how many of our brilliant youngsters would benefit from such measures to help develop focus, concentration, and intellectual self control.
Perhaps a measure like this would; help the district to stand out in willingness to try unique solutions for education, improve some of the students’ performance, and attract even more brilliant and curious educators, who want to contribute in such a forward-thinking environment.