tv James Lang Distracted CSPAN November 13, 2020 9:49pm-11:18pm EST
innovation planning a two day conference like this one record number of colleagues across the region and for the first time ever we had over 1200 registrations and those looking at the keynote address or vs c-span we are absolutely thrilled wherever you may be a technical team to get us here team of colleagues and 17 campuses and the metropolitan region volunteering their time and energy we nearly asked him to stand and be recognized by know that's not possible we
nearly asked him to stand and be recognized by know that's not possible in various capacities please take a moment to thank them for their work. also to take a moment to recognize the enormous effort with the assistant director jennifer mchenry and director of instructional design work at these amazing women i am over time with i and i get to work with them we would like to personally thank the university of st. louis leadership the high value on teaching and learning without
support we cannot do what we like to do and then to introduce the keynote speaker. >> good morning thank you c-span for podcasting this conference. i hope you stay healthy and safe it's my privilege i would love to welcome you to the vibrancy this region rich with history with inspiring set of education with creative with staff and students to make the metropolitan region and it's my understanding it is the 19th annual focus of technology conference and that is remarkable where we can exchange ideas and learn together and network on how we maintain against the
challenges of higher education across the nation are facing during these unprecedented times to help us continue to keep students engaged and on track for graduation and we all know that hasn't been easy. sharing ideas and strategies make the job a little later thank you to all of you to think about how to use technology to improve student learning and research. welcome to the keynote speaker professor of english for the centers teaching excellence in winchester massachusetts author of several books the most recent of which are every day lessons in the science of learning and teaching
distracted mayans i think we will agree him minds of been a little more distracted these days more detail is in the background so please give me one morgan one - - a warm welcome to our speaker. thank you. >> thank you everybody. i am grateful for your presence but i'm sorry i cannot be in st. louis my wife is from st. louis. i got my masters at st. louis university of would love to have been there with you all. so during this time i know how difficult it is to stay focused on webinars and zoom meetings just listening to my wife and i will count this as a success. so far is pretty low and then
imagine what my wife is doing with to get that five to stay on as in :-colon be focused. and then to start our session today by to think philosophically why we want to make attention the value and then to start hearing about the bigger picture so we should think about the idea that is a fundamental part of what we do. and the ecology of attention argues it is the art of
directing the attention of students. and then to notice what is remarkable and important than what we're looking at and i would encourage you to that extent to have a vast potential and that your job as a teacher is to identify what's most important and direct to the attention of your students to that material and those skills to think about that attention is fundamental how we conceive of ourselves and the fundamental work to direct the attention of the students where it matters and discipline and classes and the book how we learn so to pay more attention
to attention and with the right thing in terms of skills or content that we try to instill in them so our greatest challenge is channeling and capturing the attention of our students. i will not get so much into the cognitive theory but one of the things that we know from the research on how people learn is a process starts with attention to whatever it is they are trying to master they will not even get to the later steps of learning so it is a fundamental part of the learning process and the first part. i would argue this is a value we have to make and we have to
think very carefully how we are cultivating and sustaining the attention of our students. especially now through our devices we have a global pandemic region with national challenges but when we get back into our classrooms next year then we still need to think about how we cultivate to sustain the attention of our students. and not only is it a challenge to sustain attention but it is made difficult by the fact it is a limited capacity resource.
and the fact it is achieved over time and more difficult to pay some involved had these experiences on a regular everyday basis so we want to think about ourselves that we are the stewards of our students attention and she argues here is the foundation for everything we want to do as instructors but within a precious limited resource center the designer of learning experiences we need to think of ourselves as stewards of the attention of our students what type of stewardship are we offering? what are we doing to support the attention of students in the classroom? prior to the pandemic the biggest question i got what do
in order to help. a stronger value and are teaching but we can go back a long way. he writes people who are devoted are unable to pay attention to arguments because they enjoy the activity that presently it buys them. listing two arguments in classrooms and put playing his youtube videos on your phone. we can see going back as far as we have people writing about the mind and back to aristotle people were expressing concern about our ability to stay focused especially to stay focused on something as cognitively challenging like
listening to following along with argument. when external temptations come along about things that are more pleasant week tend to default to those things. we step away from the challenging things to make under the easier more pleasant things and augustine writes about this as well. ancient writers wrote about this problem about her inability to pay attention when we want to. we have the desire to listen to the argument and we know it's going to be helpful to us in some way and still somehow we can't ignore that flew playing off in the distance. john dunn the english poet wrote to the extent to which he found a tense and difficult in his prayers and notice when he throws himself down the chamber to pray. i put myself in that position and i invite god to come in the
minute they arrived i neglect god's angels for the whining of the door. the discussion is listened to two parts and we identify the two ways which they describe it. one is the external whether the flew playing or the fly but there's a second part which is things that come inside my head a memory of yesterday's pleasure of fear of tomorrow's dangers and immediate noise like anything and nothing of fantasy all these things come into his prayer but what we see here is now where noticing two kinds of things that can distract us things outside of us and things inside of our own head and you probably noticed during the pandemic a lot of the destruction has been things inside of her own head as we are thinking about global issues and personal professional challenges and that's making it more
difficult for us to stay focused. i love this one is an example of how we start to worry about technological distractions. this is a cartoon from the british magazine punch and it's from 1906 to the cartoons our forecast for what's going to happen in 1907 so you have two natalie dressed accordions looking at the telegraph machines and are not paying attention to one another. striking to think about it in relationship to tensions we see of teenagers huddled over their phones at a restaurant table and how much we lament we are talking to each other and we don't look at each other in the eye read this as another concern we have the goes back a very long way. by the way i'm going to talk basically in two parts for the first part is the context
history biology part of it and i'm going to pause after an and finish that part and take questions from the chat. please if you have questions along the way her comments feel free to put them in the chat and our moderators will let me know how to stop and respond to some of those in the second half we will do the same thing. you build up what your questions in the chat and we will discuss them at the end of the sessions at two times your questions and answers during the webinar could always see as the external distractions that for example the fly in the door whatever it might be and now we have this added competition of technology which is drawing your attention to them. my favorite quote is from a novel called the provincial lady in london. provincial lady was a series of novels about a woman who's
feeling all the challenges of household management while she was trying to start -- as well as one of the novels she writes about attending a literary conference for the first time and she says i'm sorry to find attention wandering to entirely unrelated topics difficulty in -- doubling down on her attention that point didn't really try to stay focused by taking notes and later they discovered she referred to getting postcards from her children a memorandum and finding her local bankers in case she runs out of money. this is from 1930 so if you're feeling distracted anytime during the conference know that you are not alone in that experience. the provincial lady shares your pain. i want to get now to a kind of wrapping up this initial
historical overview by showing you a before-and-after quote in terms of the way our contemporary technologies expand the way we think about technology and distraction. this is a quote from 1741 isaac watts wrote a book called the improvement of the mind and wanted things he writes about here is the extent to which if you put yourself continuously in the company of distraction and makes you a more distractible person. waits arguing here is actually people going to coffee shops. in the 17th century coffee shops were swarmed into an england and more generally in these were places that tighten activity buzzing with people talking newspapers meetings and all kinds of stuff like that and don't go to those places if you're trying to study. all of the things that strike
your eye and your ear have a tendency to steal the mind away from the steady pursuit of any subject so that's the normal distractions we experience but we argue something a little bit different. thereby you get into a habit of trying to wonder. in other words he spent a lot of time in the company for distractions and you become a more distracted person. once you see that isaac watts and argues an 18th century can give us context for the arguments made by people like nicholas carr in 2010. nicholas carr arguing in the shadow arguing about what the internet has done to her ability to pay attention or distractibility and undistracted linear minds is pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants to take in and dole out information in an overlapping bursts.
you can see the extent to which that concern is a very ancient one. the idea that somehow our new tech melodies are fundamentally changing us becomes less plausible when we see the extent to which these concerns we have been having these concerns for a very long time now. the other thing i've hope you've seen and what i've shown you already is but we never really had a calm undistracted linear mind. that's not the way the human mind works. the idea that we had this. lapsed state in which we sort of calmly said and focused on things for as long as we wanted that kind of the myth did we never really had a mind like that so i want you to kind of thing about this knowledge is to go forward. humans have distractible minds so the idea of this teaching
distracted minds talk is meant to convey the fact that all of our minds are distracted so as a result we need to think carefully about week -- how we teach to a distracted mind. one striking thing about this in the book has a little more of this with the variety of cultures and time periods and one striking thing you'll notice we are unhappy about the fact that our minds are easily distractible. we seem to want a mind that is better able to pay attention and engage in long periods of sustained focus so whenever we talk about our distracted noise we seem to be unhappy about it. that's an interesting thing to notice about all these and should make us wonder little bit why do we have these distractible minds? why do we evolve with minds that we wish were a little bit different and we wish we have
the ability to push it where distractions and lock in our focus. we will talk about that a wide aisle just tell us we have this distractible mind could one nice description comes from a psychiatrist and this comes from an animated video that he gives that is 10 or 15 minutes long could he gives the example of a bird trying to pack seeds against a difficult background and as he points out here the bird has two different forms of attention. he needs to be a lot of focus to take out the seeds against that background. at the same time it has to be aware of its surroundings because it's got to be aware of the potential for predators and other birds around it and it has to be generally aware of its surroundings.
this in fact is true for us as well. we need to be able to focus but we also need to be aware of what's going on around us to be alert to friends and they don't quite have the predators coming at us in the same way that the bird does but if you think about the way in which we have evolved and that evolutionary process it was important for us not only to be able to track an animal or to deal the start of fire but to be aware of the potential dangers around us as well as the potential positive things, new food sources, new potential social roots all that kind of thing. along this evolutionary history is for a very good reason that we have developed this ability to focus as well as have the ability and the capacity for awareness to be easily distracted to the things around us that might be helpful to us.
now, the striking thing about primates is, and other animals as well, extent to which that kind of divided ability to focus its intensified by the fact that we especially as primates are really drawn towards novels. in a distracted mind which is one of my favorite things about distraction more generally in i will show you in image at the end of the talk, they argue that we are information seeking creatures and research shows in addition to foraging for food and drink our brains have the vault to new information it continually seeks new information. again there a long history was useful for us to say i'm doing this but i wonder what's going
on over there for maybe five tried something different what would happen? we are continually pushing ourselves to ask questions and to kind of look for novelty and see what things are and to ask ourselves questions and to wonder and to take a whole different pathway that might lead somewhere unexpected and this might be helpful to us. what has happened recently and i kind of wanted to show you the first part of the talk so you'd notice that the distraction is an agent problem but i do want to down play the fact that technologies are getting better and better at playing on these aspects of our minds. what we have now that we are dealing with here with our phones are these are machines that have been carefully designed in order to appeal to our desire for novelty. i want you to think about what your phone does for you in terms of providing you with novel
information. it's constant so it's always available to give you something when you are looking for something. you can check your e-mail to see what are your e-mails are in now you can pop over to twitter and there's bound to be something new on twitter. when twitter is tapped out you good instagram and see what's available there and by the time you're done with that you probably have some more e-mails so if you are looking for novelty the phone is a perfectly designed machine to provide you with that. not only that but you should consider the fact that this is a billion-dollar many billion-dollar industry trying to capture attention through these devices. so there is a lot of energy invested in trying to ensure that these devices capture and keep your attention. the difference is today the machines have gotten better at
playing on the aspects of our minds that have always been there. the companies are getting better at this and they put time and energy and work power into it. now the question is have they gotten so good that you hear people saying this all the time paradigm no longer able to pay attention. my students are no longer able to pay attention and somehow these devices are rewiring our minds. mike -- one of my favorite psychologist says dan willingham at the university of virginia and willingham and everyone else i have read on the subject suggests we probably should step back from that concern because the fact that it's so essential to our ability to think. imagine that somehow in the course of a few years it has undergone a significant
deterioration. that would require all kinds of retrofitting of other cognitive function and that kind of reorganization of our brain and the species level is going to happen over an evolutionary time and not just because we started playing with our smartphones. it could change our brain in two ways. for short periods of time that kind of deeper wiring that we hear people talking about that you may be concerned about for yourself doesn't seem to be good evidence that is happening in those architectural levels of our brain. to me that's great news. what it tells us is our brains are still there and they have always been. their distractible because they have always been distractible but they are also able to pay attention when the circumstances are right and when we put the
effort into it to bring our attention to it so it's available for attention and so with this leads me to is the idea that if we want the attention of our students we have to think about how we are deliberately cultivating it and if there's one thing i want you to take away from this talk today is what you see on the screen here. we need to start thinking about paying attention as an achievement. it's not default mode. i think sometimes we think about attention is here and then we fall away from it in distraction. i want to suggest and what i think the research suggests our normal state is distraction. our thoughts are swirling around in our heads. we may be thinking about one thing and something else at the same time and when we are able to rise out of that and pay attention that's an achievement and something we are able to do
and something we do effortlessly in multiple steps are needed to ensure that we start paying attention and we stay on track. i really like this concept from wise bird at attention as an achievement and since attention as an achievement we need to think about how are we helping students achieve it? what are we doing to support their attention over the course of the learning experience and so that is our goal for thinking about, that's what i want to do for the second half of the session is to think about the pedagogical strategies we are using that can support attention or might her students away. let's pause here and review the first point. the first thing is to know the human mind is a distractible mind and there's a chapter in
the book that goes throughout this historical, these historical samples. i showed you a few of them already but if you are reading older work and i was doing research for the book in reading as i normally. novels philosophy and criticism in that sort of thing and i started to notice when people talked about attention and distraction. you'll see it as far back as you can. that the human mind isn't easily distractible. our current technologies are intensifying and these two things represent what i view as the right historical attitude. we have always been distracted but we are facing special new challenges because of the fact that our current technologies are so good at planning on their distractible natures. that is to meet the two halves of that equation. attention is a hard one in
fragile achievement and i think there are two things about that. first of all in a classroom setting would first have to win the attention of our students. we have to do things in order to draw them into the experience but it's also fragile. it's easy to fall away from us so we have to think about what we are doing to get their support and sustained attention over the course of the classroom and this alludes to the second half of the talk. there a lot of good arguments when we think about the cognitive literature we have to cultivate it deliberately. have to make this the value in our teaching and i know you are probably thinking i have all these other things any think think about teaching i would suggest you can do a lot of those things through the lens of attention actually. one of the things of all been talking about recently is the importance of community and a
classroom and we face special challenges as her classes many art teaching only on line classes and we are not having the normal opportunity to cultivate community in our classrooms that we did in face-to-face classrooms but you can think about this through the lens of attention. in a classroom could into one of the things we try to do for one another is attend to each other. i pay attention to you as an individual and i listen to you. i give you the gift of my attention and i hope you are doing that same thing for me. if we think about community attention can be an avenue for creative thinking about how we are cultivating community in a classroom. how are we giving our attention to one another? how are we ensuring that when a student speaks other students are giving that student their attention. a lot of the problems we face in higher education i think can be
viewed through the lens of attention and the lens of attention this thinking creatively about what sense solutions to some of these long-standing challenges we face in education. usually when i'd be giving these talks and i started giving these talks about attention as i was working on the book and the issue that people always wanted to talk about was a device in the classroom and worried about the devices in my student's classroom for that was of an issue obviously because teaching is happening here or devices so i'm not going to talk so much about that today. i'm just going to say one thing about it. i invite you to consider the extent to which your students can be partners in helping you think about how to support and sustain attention in your classroom. your students earning three, four, five or the classes that have lots of other classes, your
upper-class students have had plenty of other classes are ready. they've been in five, 15, 20 or 30 classroom environments in which the teachers have different policies about devices and in which teachers use different strategies to sustain their attention. they have a wealth of experience in terms of solutions about how to cultivate and sustain their attention. they are sitting to resume sessions all the time now and webinars like this one. what is helping this and what is driving them away and what is the moment in which they turn away from the screen and turned to their phones? ask them these questions and see what solutions they might offer you that will best help them sustain their attention throughout whatever it is you
are asking them to do. it's nearing the end of september here. it's a great time for students who been in your class for three or four weeks already and all their other classes with creative teachers trying to do different things. ask them what helps and what hasn't help them. both in your class, and their other classes this term and other classes they have had over the course of their high school and college experience and see what kinds of ideas they made be able to offer you in terms of what you might be doing in the classroom. if you normally do a midterm of valuation a midterm of valuation is a great time to ask these same kinds of questions. i did this with my own students prior to the pandemic last year to help give me solutions for what would make them, what i could do that would help support
the attention the classroom and they gave me several ideas that i never would have thought about things they had seen some of my colleagues doing that i never would have had access to. consider where you can learn from your students about how to support their attention and i would invite you to think about your own experiences in sessions just like this one. what is the point at which you start to fade away and what can you learn from out about what you are going to do with your own students? turn the lens of attention to yourself and think about your own distractions when you get distracted and what draws you back into a session like this one. speaking of which now is the time i want to pause to see what potential questions might have come up here about the first half of this presentation. i don't know if there's anything in this chapter we should address for few want to respond to any particular thing thing
that has come up. >> we have a couple of questions in the chat. the person was about people with adhd or add and some of the struggles with that. one of our attendees mentioned it's kind of like continuously seeing -- being in a coffee shop in an isolated room. >> a coffee shop inside your head. as a part of my research for the book i looked at the literature on attention deficit disorders adhd and essentially what aycher combat is the solutions that help us pay attention that help anyone pay attention can help those students. it's of course more challenging for those students but the basic
principles and pathways are going to be some work in one of the things that are recommended the book for example in a face-to-face classroom. most of us are not worried about this particular semester but one of the things in the book i talk about is the idea of bears an invisible plane in the classroom. i'm in the front section and then there are the desk and students. many teachers do not cross that invisible line. i did a lot of observing of teaser -- teachers for the research on the book and i can't tell you how many teachers i saw that stay in that empty space between the first desk and the board. one of the easiest things to do in a face-to-face classroom to pay better attention to your students is to break that plane and get out there and walk around address individual students talk to different corners of the room. one of the things that got me
thinking about that was as i mentioned earlier my wife was a kindergarten teacher and when she had students who came in and they have attention problems for example one of the first recommendations they get is to have that student sit near the teacher. the physical presence of the teacher help support the attention of that student and i think we can start that are -- start their credit believe we can generalize that to a point that helps everyone. again if we were in a conference room right now all of us together i would be standing right next to one of you right now that person i'm standing next to would be very attentive. you would move around the room to make sure everybody is dreck we in their area. you see that in theaters as
well. what i'm trying to say here is the principles i'm going to argue for our work and help support attention for those students even though it's going to be more challenging for them. >> i'm jumping out of order because this directly ties to way you are saying after there was a question about standing up versus sitting down when you are lecturing. c in a face-to-face room? >> are you standing up now when you are speaking us today while most of us are sitting down while you are lecturing? >> i'm standing up right now and i do that to keep my own energy up and i think that is a challenge especially in those face-to-face arguments -- gatherings.
depends upon what the person thinks or that framework will help them to determine if it is redundant or irrelevant. it probably has more pedagogical thinking like how you help students recognize what matters and what doesn't. that's more of the design of the content specifically thinking about cultivating attention that is a deeper pedagogical questio question. >> i think the first question ties in with that there are some positive aspects to engage in those activities when those are mundane. >> absolutely.
so first of all we all know there has been so much written about the myth of multitasking we think we can do it very well but then it shows that we are not very as good as we think however were not good at doing similar kinds of things and when things require thought were require full attention you can watch tv and for laundry you can have a conversation with something that doesn't require a lot of your attention. that's why a lot of us we feel we can multitask because we often can if we do things that
don't require our full attention. running into problems is when you try to listen and also respond to e-mails and both of those require your attention and that will diminish your ability to retain something as well as a carefully constructed e-mail with no typos so that's the way to think about it if those tasks that really require our attention and saying all tha that, it can be good it drives curiosity. and then i will jump down the rabbit hole that leads to something interesting and that creative thinking is a result
to juxtapose two very different things like i am doing this that i think about my project will be stuck on for a long time while somebody else comes up. that could be a creative and productive thing what our brain is doing for us into another place and then i recognize that it is great for creativity and curiosity we can find structures and activities in the classroom to help support that i also write about those in the chapter on connecting and teaching i will actually talk about some of those strategies because i think we can channel distractible brains into interesting ways through structured connection activities. >> we have time for one more question. this is relevant as well with
the physiological aspects to be dehydrated with the stress levels that this is an equity issue as well in the classroom. >> of course. if you are hungry or worried taking care of your sick sibling and everything. anxiety. all these things that interfere with attention so of course we want to think about were not really talking about the six principles that we argued for that we can use to support and sustain attention one is community and it is absolutely an equity issue given the attention to our students and challenges they are facing it is reciprocal
why pay attention to you if you pay attention to me i won't really talk about that so much today it's in the book and the community in the afternoon session but we need to be aware drawing only the attention of our students with anxiety and attention and learning challenges is especially true now going on around the world around us teachers need to pay closer attention to the students and the challenges they are facing. >> the questions keep coming. >> let's do the second half i think i could get it in 220 or
25 minutes. >> i think some of these you will address in the second section. so now we start to think about the solutions and what we can do in order to help cultivate and sustain that atmosphere and with that particular talk to talk about structure and attention fatigue over time and then to talk a little bit about the role we play in the attention process.
so the first two things we should plan like a playwright and a poet this is easy to hang your hat on to take away from this session and think about the idea of the fact the attention of our students that's true not only of our students have a limited capacity resource one of those gray demonstrations that came out and 2014 which looked at how long did students engage with videos those that were conducted for multiple years , i believe this data comes from 7 million users. they looked at how long did students actually watch the
videos how long did they stay on the video before they signed off and did something else? what you will notice is striking when students had to watch videos on the online course conducted entirely online up to about ten minutes they watch the entire video between nine and 12 there would only watch about half but if the videos were longer than 12 minutes, they would only watch about 20 percent. so you can see is the extent to which attention fades over time. i want to give you a more cognitive thoughts on that psychologist tell us what we're asking students to do in the classroom is directed attention requires effort it
plays a central role in our ability to focus is under our control some of the time but what i want to focus on right now to be susceptible to fatigue our attention gradually fades over time requiring more effort from us over the course of an experience. this is true with any kind of experience sound in intensity and some will say paying attention over the course of a 75 minute lecture they can also a 75 minute discussion that is just how our attention works it leads to directed attention fatigue. so think about that. of course the great article
conference organizers posted on harvard business review especially true resume fatigue and what i like in the article in a zoo meeting in the same classrooms having a live discussion we are looking at faces the entire time. this is not normal for us to rachel for one - - around me stance if you look at their face? almost never that makes us uncomfortable when we talk to people in real life we look around all the time and stare often think can make a point then return our gaze and look out the window. but with these vehicles and students are on their cameras in the classroom if i look at you think of no longer paying attention will get the same judgment in face-to-face context.
so on the show curb your enthusiasm he gets very close into their face and looks them right in the eye the joke is we all cringe as it happens with on people getting up close like that but that is what we are doing in the zoom calls and as they are conducted through zoom so there is a special way this cause attention fatigue. >> what i want you to think about creating for your students online this semester or this year back into the classroom hopefully in the next yea year, think about the fact over 2000 years
playwrights have to think about how do i capture and sustain the attention of human beings over the course of the two or three hour. they are forced to sit in their seats? i think we can learn something and in order to do that. first of all the program tells you how this will unfold. there is a strong value to that to say to your students we were taught for 20 minutes if the conversation is good will go longer after 20 minutes will do an activity and then i will talk to 15 or 20 minutes we will have a one minute lecture that helps people to understand how long do i maintain my focus. so with the layout and the structuring of the experience requires us to be more organized the attention of
your students is important it's important to think about even the playwright has act and intermission they draw and the attention of the audience then they might pause so think about these examples mentioning earlier talking about the fact questions are important to start a learning experience for think way the playwright draws in the audience through initial action or something serious. wilhelm argues teachers come to class and just are talking about the answers to the big questions but in fact we need
to do more time looking at the question what is the interesting question we are designed to answer today and then to get the attention of her students. colleague does it with daily questions and begins every class by showing students a microbe and asking them to quickly jump on their phones and find everything they can about the microbe and together they compile a quick overview of the microbe of the day. it's a great way each class. she draws them and to capture their attention to use their devices and then what they discover they launch into her lecture she knows the things they will find that she takes them and pushes them forward into the classroom that day. and captures the attention
secondly how are you offering change very active or passive engagement so the important thing is not to say i'm not lecturing not even on the zoom call is a bad idea but maybe we need to think about the ten or 15 minute lecture if you do lectures or videos if you have students do activities maybe you have a whole class discussion may be collaborate on the google talk think how
you theory the activity that students are doing. in the classroom it's not a bad idea to do group work this is a way to re-energize and capture their attention in the harvard business review article and on and off camera students are not spending 75 minutes looking at faces the entire time. change renews attention so how are you offering change? and then doing something new every five or ten minutes but a few shifts over the class. would go a long way to
engage. so set and the workshop once with a colleague of mine and she had us write down our teaching strategies on index cards and then she had a star to shuffle around and what was the pattern what was at wakely tusa sport support and sustain attention? especially if you are struggling write down all the things you can do and put them on different post- its and index cards to see what emerges and is the best way to the course of this. i also like to talk about the fact that goes on for longer
than it should and christopher's book talks about the intercostal pedagogy and the extent of which those experiences and how they engage attention and with black churches when they know the attention of the congregation they would pause as a can i get an amen? and let two or three times and everybody shouts back now they are back in the room. may be more appropriate for face-to-face classroom so the strategies that you have to stop and reengage for the moment.
but also should have a couple things in our pockets to say let's stop here want everyone to write down these three things. here is a new problem for when things got a little slow now are one - - is a time i would like everybody to get up and move their desk and to energize ourselves so thank you structure the experience and then what you can reengage. that thinks like a playwright. and then to think about the fact not only in the experience but also more and more familiar with something.
and then want to talk about it. and then to talk about the wonders we have seen in our discipline. and with the creation of signature attention activities are what we create to reawaken the wonders of the discipline and the everyday world. this is your pedagogical self to think creatively with the attention of your students. and with brand-new eyes and then to see the fruit basket the way is designed to think about that everyday experience
in a new light and that's the goal of the activity what do i mean by this? in the book i talk about the history and holy cross they gave students an incredible assignment every week look at the same painting and write a new response every single week they had to write 13 papers about the same painting and as she described in the article they are very superficial but then they had to look and looking keep looking over and over it was astonishing what they would notice and how they can start making connections between the work and their own lives in the world around them and other classes from a guy
deeper and deeper of the analysis because the teacher created a fascinating assignment getting them to slow down and look. and what she did was a great example of signature attention activity. the first book of the bible she had her students sit from one to another in pairs just the first few paragraphs to pause after every sentence to think about the extent of which they had noticed something new or thought-provoking fascinating in that sentence i observe
this for over 20 minutes either from the first few sentences of genesis were remarkable. but because she created and force them to slow down and speak about in a new and different way. and then to take the everyday objects and i've been more deeply and think about that so drawing from that the everyday object analysis have students in their own homes and asking these three questions take a close look and describe it
what is important and what does it connect to? what can i learn from it? how is that connected as what other students may have learned or know about? what can i do with that were questions can i ask what i write a paper about in relationship and then to provide more detail this t-shirt produced and on the other side of the world with the trade policies and economics and that's a particular item which has a feel for the statics he can make that relate almost anything the same as any object you can come up with.
and how to look at the spaces around them. with new and creative thinking. this is my recommendation. and how can you see those on a regular basis so the structured stuff the one time classroom experience thinking of the structure not like the course that you don't do every day but in the four times that intention starts to lag over the semester so think like a
playwright and poet and to talk about the extent that helps to motivate attention when your students pay the most attention but that sent me on a journey to think about the research of the intention i believe there is a will to play and to make a distinction of the intrinsic motivation and then they are interested and care about the subject matter and with the extrinsic
motivator and the extent to which and that motivation and that text transit can have a role to play directing the attention of your students and i would invite you to thing to the extent of which is true in her everyday life extrinsic motivators go hand-in-hand like our own desires we know running is good for us we know exercise is good for us we should do it because we want to but how many of us and for the five k because it gives us the extra motivation to get ready for that performance even if we don't care about how we did? we give ourselves these extrinsic motivators to push us through that's why i think
it can help engage us when we are out of which were not interested initially and to push us into that engagement. and especially now during this pandemic they can have so much to worry about that this can be an issue as well. and then to recognize where attention gives them the most bang for the buck if you design your activities well you know they will help why not reword your students with the work on those assessments?
so if you are in class and these things you have your students to like worksheets or solving problems to do a particular tas task, help them focus their attention find a way to regularly reward the effort they put into those things. >> this is in conflict with intrinsic motivation some might need that nudge a student who has a lot going on may say i have to check in because this blue help me with
my grades in the class and in the classroom as well so we're arguing to pick the most important engagement activity each day or each week to collect on paper electronically told the grades of your students is asking students in my class for the passages i will put them in groups and i tell him to take the crap out of it the keywords, things that remind you to brainstorm everything they can think of and then we look at that together and what they want to pursue but it is
low stakes and i say that all that matters is you do it and then to focus on this. i that's a hopeful activity if they attend to it on their partners or exams. so assessment has a will to play you and they do their activities or pairing students for the insight to say this will help you on the high-stakes assessment and we should do tha that. >> we will skip that and try to wrap up so talk about
structure and renewal and assessment and with the structure of that experience to do a better job of keeping your students attention span and we talk about renewal holders can play a role the last time we talked about the assessment that has a role to play those little steak assessments can help direct the attention of your students and help promote their learning by focusing on the things that will help them. so those are other factors in the book if you're interested you can find more how
communities can drive attention and the that mindfulness can play i know people are always curious about this and in the book i argue although i think it could be helpful it's more hopeful for the teacher then to expect students to become practitioners of mindfulness that research is complex but you can get into that detail in the book and see my argument there. i want to finish with mary oliver again and over the course of this research the classroom and experience can be a retreat sources at the
very beginning the distraction is where we swam and attention and rises out of the ocean like an island and getting focused service for all beings and then provides a good demonstration of that so our classroom can be a place where we treat from around us and to have the opportunity to focus on something. think about your classroom is a place where attention is valued and cultivated and sustained and then education
and then you have in the history and the biology as well. i will wrap up there. >> and we have a lot of wonderful questions i hope we can get to all of them. and buried in some great comments in their but several people are asking how that relates to the current environment. and the advice we were thinking that we should stay
in our bubble. >> getting up and moving around right now is not the way to go. so those things we can do right now so to offer a variety of things they will not work in every context there is one or two things we can do a little differently by all means but if you take one thing away from this presentation to help bring attention that is great. you just can't expect everything would work. >> and other relevant question
to what degree is the comfort or consistency or predictability right now for students in this age of chaos and uncertainty makes it up to refocus? what is hopeful that applies to the change and the counterpart in the face to face classroom just off the side of the board here is what happens in class today i normally put times on their but we could be doing that in the zoom classroom. you are sitting in a conference session and the good old days and then to say
this is my last point my care is my first idea and moving on to the second. and then they pick back up so first of all to know what will happen to planet in such a way it will happen. >> so there are several questions about timing and attention spans and how long whether a video on the online class or your lecture there was one that was no longer of the age of the students.
>> asia, wife and see if that works for the five -year-old. [laughter] i will have to look that up. you see in the videos i can give a scientific answer to that but it's probably shorter than it is in the actual classroom. there's no reason so it acknowledges the difficulty to pay attention but it lets your students so i took a spanish class the instructor did a lot of great things sometimes i
login as a one hour lecture and that i would say don't have time for that right now. maybe i didn't get back to it. that was broken up in 15 minutes i could do that now and then the second one later tonight. if breaking it up you give the opportunity maybe that could help some students the other thing i would say is in terms of the actual classroom it depends on you how energetic are you? to get out there and draw attention? and we all have to find our sweet spot i can be pretty energetic in the classroom i can go 20 or 30 minutes of talking that's about as far as i will go.
those that have the lower-level you just have to know yourself you just have to know yourself about the ability and the reason is that we recognize that and then to gauge their attention. >> i don't really know what we can do about that privacy reasons and the best solution you can encourage people multiple modes of engagement
if they have a session to do 15 minutes of talking and then they do something together from the very beginning you can see in 15 minutes in order to do the google talk you have to follow through the best of what i can think is those questions but that's the only thing i can think of for this. we are in a challenging situation right now. we all are. >> are there any issues that bilingual students? and with that cognitive capacity.
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