“It’s Not Attention Deficit — I’m Just Not Listening!”

This quote comes from a blog post I read recently, the author saw this printed on a teenager’s t-shirt…It hits home hard for me.  I know as an adult that I have a hard time reining in my focus for certain topics or speakers; then I think about our students having to sit in a classroom for 90 minutes at a time, four times a day, and I am impressed at the fact that they can manage at all, let alone be as successful as they are.  But what about those kids who aren’t managing it successfully, why aren’t they choosing to listen?  Researcher Linda Stone came up with the term “continuous partial attention” (CPA) to explain the phenomenon of today’s connected culture.  We are constantly on call, 24/7, with smartphones vibrating in our pocket, e-mails sent to our phone, and all the other distractions.  So what can we do to help our students free themselves from this CPA for 90 minutes at a time?  One potential solution provided by the author was simple, be less boring as teachers.  When I was in school I know it was waaaay more boring than it is now, I mean I walk into classes at our school that are 100 times more engaging than anything I ever sat through!!  However, it seems that kids in the CPA culture are still bored in classes.  What can we do to help our students become more present in our classrooms?  Goal-setting and asking for (and listening to) student feedback are two important strategies suggested in the later half of this blog post.  Have a look and let me know what you think…our 21st century learners are begging you 🙂

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