Tag Archives: Learning

How Our Education System Actually Encourages Short Attention Spans

Author’s Note: I’m going to mainly focus on student experiences in India for this. But I think at least some of these examples might apply to the rest of the world too. If not, you have my apologies (and my envy.)


 

It starts at school.

As they get to higher and higher grades, here’s how students are instructed to write exams: “Write a lot. If it’s 5 marks, write more than a page; maybe more than two. By-heart the headings; don’t write your own. And, if possible, by-heart the textbook too.”

 

Blog Post: It starts at school. As they get to higher and higher grades, here's how students are instructed to write exams: "Write a lot. If it's 5 marks, write more than a page; maybe more than two. Byheart the headings; don't write your own. And, if possible, by-heart the textbook too." Basically, students are told to cram facts into their heads in as short a time as possible, and writing sheafs worth of papers in as short a time as possible. In fact (at least, it was true when I was a student) I don't think a single student escaped the experience of -- at least once -- having his or her answer sheet snatched away from them while they were still in mid-write at the end of an exam. Well. Then came college. Here, students aren't limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books -- which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn. For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes. Plus, they still needed to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not. So again -- like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level -- in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (6 months per semester). As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run. Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time. (A lot of the time, they also get used to quantity over quality too.) And then, when they finally graduate . . . those habits stay. The fact that technology and video games are a normal part of everyday life for them has contributed a little, yes. But honestly, with this kind of study-lifestyle, a student's capacity for "patience" and "focus" was already dying anyway. And it's not fair to blame their short attention spans on technology or impatience -- (granted, there are those kinds too, but they're not the only kinds) -- when they were only encouraged to be so with their work when they were still students. Written By A Moody Pen. WOLIWAIS.
Credit: http://thedailycougar.com/2012/09/06/college-students-are-burnt-out/

 

Basically, students are told to cram facts into their heads in as short a time as possible, and to write sheafs worth of papers in as short a time as possible.

 

It starts at school. As they get to higher and higher grades, here's how students are instructed to write exams: "Write a lot. If it's 5 marks, write more than a page; maybe more than two. Byheart the headings; don't write your own. And, if possible, by-heart the textbook too." Basically, students are told to cram facts into their heads in as short a time as possible, and writing sheafs worth of papers in as short a time as possible. In fact (at least, it was true when I was a student) I don't think a single student escaped the experience of -- at least once -- having his or her answer sheet snatched away from them while they were still in mid-write at the end of an exam. Well. Then came college. Here, students aren't limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books -- which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn. For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes. Plus, they still needed to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not. So again -- like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level -- in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (6 months per semester). As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run. Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time. (A lot of the time, they also get used to quantity over quality too.) And then, when they finally graduate . . . those habits stay. The fact that technology and video games are a normal part of everyday life for them has contributed a little, yes. But honestly, with this kind of study-lifestyle, a student's capacity for "patience" and "focus" was already dying anyway. And it's not fair to blame their short attention spans on technology or impatience -- (granted, there are those kinds too, but they're not the only kinds) -- when they were only encouraged to be so with their work when they were still students. Written By A Moody Pen. WOLIWAIS.
Credit: https://www.emaze.com/@ALCQILLR/Stress-In-Our-Life

 

In fact (at least, it was true when I was a student) I don’t think a single student escaped the experience of — at least once — having his or her answer sheet snatched away from them while they were still in mid-write at the end of an exam.

Well. Then came college.

Here, students aren’t limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books — which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn (if they’re lucky, that is). For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes.

 

Then came college. Here, students aren't limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books -- which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn. For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes. Plus, they still needed to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not. So again -- like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level -- in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (6 months per semester). As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run. Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time. Written By A Moody Pen. WOLIWAIS.
Credit: https://www.cartoonstock.com

 

Plus, they still need to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not.

So again — like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level — in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (there are only 6 months in a semester).

As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run.

Then came college. Here, students aren't limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books -- which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn. For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes. Plus, they still needed to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not. So again -- like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level -- in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (6 months per semester). As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run. Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time. Written By A Moody Pen. WOLIWAIS.
Credit: allnurses.com

 

Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time.

(A lot of the time, they also get used to quantity over quality too.)

And then, when they finally graduate . . . those habits stay.

The fact that technology and video games are a normal part of everyday life for them has contributed a little, yes. But honestly, with this kind of study-lifestyle, a student’s capacity for “patience” and “focus” was already dying anyway. And it’s not fair to blame their short attention spans on technology or impatience — (granted, there are those kinds of students/graduates too, but they’re not the only kinds) — when they were only encouraged to be so with their work when they were still students.

.

(Oh, and a comment from a friend made me realize I should mention this:

I wasn’t a poor student in my student-days, and this is not a rant to justify how warped the education system is simply because I couldn’t cut it.

I was actually a very good student who scored pretty well, maintained a rank, and always submitted assignments on time. And I’m a teacher myself now too.

It’s rather because I’m a teacher now, remember what it was like to be a student like that, and still see students being affected this way — and then later being blamed for their short attention spans and lack of focus — that I wanted to write this.

Because success at being a student doesn’t take away from the fact that this kind of study-lifestyle actually messes with your ability to concentrate on one thing for a long time and forces you to get used to constantly shifting your focus. ‘Cause if a student doesn’t adapt this way, it shows in their scores.)

Blog Post: It starts at school. As they get to higher and higher grades, here's how students are instructed to write exams: "Write a lot. If it's 5 marks, write more than a page; maybe more than two. Byheart the headings; don't write your own. And, if possible, by-heart the textbook too." Basically, students are told to cram facts into their heads in as short a time as possible, and writing sheafs worth of papers in as short a time as possible. In fact (at least, it was true when I was a student) I don't think a single student escaped the experience of -- at least once -- having his or her answer sheet snatched away from them while they were still in mid-write at the end of an exam. Well. Then came college. Here, students aren't limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books -- which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn. For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes. Plus, they still needed to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not. So again -- like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level -- in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (6 months per semester). As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run. Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time. (A lot of the time, they also get used to quantity over quality too.) And then, when they finally graduate . . . those habits stay. The fact that technology and video games are a normal part of everyday life for them has contributed a little, yes. But honestly, with this kind of study-lifestyle, a student's capacity for "patience" and "focus" was already dying anyway. And it's not fair to blame their short attention spans on technology or impatience -- (granted, there are those kinds too, but they're not the only kinds) -- when they were only encouraged to be so with their work when they were still students. Written By A Moody Pen.
Credit: https://in.pinterest.com/pin/399553798165731026/
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The Thing about Opportunities

“Life offers a million opportunities. All you need to do is take one.”

The very first time I heard this (in a movie, I think), I thought it was absolutely wonderful and vowed to keep my eyes peeled for them and seize them the first chance I got!

Now though, I understand more about why – even with a million of them (opportunities, that is) – it’s hard to take even one and use it as well as we should. Because in truth, it really doesn’t matter how many opportunities you get or how many advantages you have. Unless you get an opportunity at a time that you’re both able to recognize it as well as know how to use it, any opportunity is like giving a toddler a saucepan or a complete adult cooking set and expecting that kid to use it to become a world class chef! Make no mistake, he or she will have a blast waving the pots around and banging them together, but the kid will just as soon as forget all about them (not having a clue about what they represent or what can be done with them) and toddle around looking for more interesting things to play with.

cute_chef-wide-730x400 - baby chef - opportunites - the thing about opportunities

Planning Out Your Life – Bah Humbug!

A disciplined, orderly life is the way to go – or so I’ve been told.

Make plans. Establish a routine. Organize yourself, your stuff and your life. That will lead you to the elusive land of peace, success, and happiness.

Bah humbug! (Refer above title.)

Where the heck is all this advice coming from??! Seriously people, do you realize that you’re spouting fantasy??!

Now, I’m a fantasy-loving kind of girl – who also has a ruthlessly logical side when necessary – so I did attempt to consider that such advice may be feasible to follow.

So I tried putting it into practice.

And guess what. It’s not feasible. Not unless you’re already well-established and successful enough to stop life in its tracks when it interferes with your schedule. And actually, I’m not entirely certain that it’s entirely feasible then either –It just has a higher success rate then . . . I think . . .

OK. Here’s the deal. I do plan. Painstakingly so. And since I’m a paranoid kind of personality, I often make back-ups – and then make back-ups for my back-ups . . .

And then it all falls amazingly, stupendously apart!

I swear I tried. (I still do in fact . . . in my weaker moments when I forget previous lessons.) I would have everything sorted out. I would plan for every contingency that I could. And then, with many good intentions, I would follow through with the plan.

And life would then choose a moment to throw me a curve-ball.

Actually, scratch that. Life would throw me a shower of frickin’ curve-balls! (And I’m not even sure some of them are curve-balls. I’m too busy trying to live through the attack at the moment to really notice!)

There I would be. Sincerely trying to live through the routine and lists I’d established – and then something would happen that would oblige me to throw up those to-do lists and schedules into the air and dash forward to confront the situation(s) at hand before I can even see those plans tumble uselessly to the ground!

A parent needing to change plans because of a meeting that lasted too long (and you’re too young to do it on your own); a sudden project from your college on an already tight schedule; a sibling giving you frantic call to pick them up from school before they (to put it politely) “spill their crumpets” in the lobby; a distraught friend or family member who you simply cannot – will not – pass over in good conscience if you dare to even consider yourself a good kind of person; a hospital emergency; an unscheduled interview call; a household accident that needs to be fixed; a nightmare that keeps you awake the entire night; finding out that the water in your apartment has been shut off for the next few hours due to a leak, a short circuit that puts out the electricity entirely in your house – or in your office when a project deadline is looming; a sudden fever or cold; spilled milk; burnt toast; an accident that leaves you with a sprained ankle or temporarily inhibiting injury; too many projects piling on your plate at the same time; and . . . and . . . Oh God, I’m drained . . .

And these are just off the top of my head . . . !

Yet another situation is when you actually do plan for most of this stuff – like inviting a few of your friends over at different dates, asking and advertising for different projects at different times – and all of them decide to show up at or around the same time!!!

*Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!*

Planning doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. Because as far as Life is concerned, your plans don’t mean squat to it. It’s probably laughing its head off at how hard we try at all! (I swear I can hear it sniggering even sometimes!) And I’ve learned this lesson too many times to keep deluding myself . . .

But, I’m not the kind of person to just sign off my existence to chance either. Sure it plays a role. But, whatever the grand scheme of the universe, it is still my life. I might be just a small, insignificant speck in the galaxy. But I still exist, and I am alive. So move over, chaos, I have rights to my life’s control too. I’m willing to share. But if you don’t, I’ll fight for it all the way!

So I’ve reached a compromise.

I do still plan. And I do still make back-ups – and back-ups for my back-ups.

But I loosen the reigns I hold too. I don’t expect everything to fall into place. I even find it funny sometimes how out of whack my plans and schedules can go. It’s irritating, but it isn’t heartbreaking. (Well, OK, it is sometimes, but only sometimes – And I get over it quickly enough for the most part, I guess.) Of course things go wrong. But that’s part of life too. And it’s better not to beat yourself up about it when you know you tried your best.

So, when all that hard-won planning and organizing fall apart, I grumble and fume and cry, and then I sigh and just go with the flow. That works better for me.

Now, to all of you super-organized, I-need-a-schedule-to-function, 9-to-5, whole-life-planned-out, uber-productive, ultra-disciplined people out there who might be reading this and frowning at the utter foolishness and “untruths” of this post, I respond to you thus: You have my admiration (and possibly some level of envy). But people are made differently, and I am still comparatively young and have yet to figure out a lot of stuff in general. And this is the best way that I have found.

Plus, in my defense, in a well-organized life, how often would you actually have the opportunity to wind up walking for practically an hour or so in the scorching summer heat with a friend, utterly laughing your heads off in the street like a pair of hyenas at the ridiculousness of the situation you were in, because something in your day went off kilter? 😉

Those moments make for some fantastic stories, you know – And memories. 🙂

"Hey look, my To Do list! I haven't been able to find this for weeks!" - Planning Out My Life. Bah Humbug! WOLIWAIS. Written By A Moody Pen. Speechbubbles! Blogging
“Hey look, my To Do list! I haven’t been able to find this for weeks!”

Habits that Change . . . that You Never Wanted to Change

My family consists of many voracious readers.

Or so I’ve been told.

I don’t actually know. For I barely remember seeing any of them pick up a story to read.

One of my aunts insisted to me once that many of them had been book addicts for a long time . . . But they just grew out of it. Too many responsibilities; shifting priorities; and a general lack of time: All lead to them simply falling out of habit with reading.

I thought she was crazy.

I was fourteen at the time.

And now, like some twisted lesson from the universe, I one day found myself in the same boat . . .

I had been one of those girls who would finish a 600-page novel within a night or two; the girl who wouldn’t be seen at any spare moment without a story to read; the girl who forewent sleep and food without even noticing it when she had a book to devour; the girl whose parents feared bankruptcy because no matter how thick the novels were, or how many were bought in one go, it would be a very short time before she was pleading for more.

Well, I had been one of those girls.

Cue college; and I found myself drifting away from this cherished pass time. Sure, I still read. But I had too much on my mind to sink too often into pages. Life was calling, and it was a life I’d chosen. I couldn’t let it down. And so, I had to brutally cut short the time I spent reading – often not even buying any books in order to resist temptation.

But, in the process, before I realised it, the allure of reading became less clear to me.

It also didn’t help at all that, after a while, I started finding it increasingly hard to find a story or writing style that I actually liked anymore. All the stories became too predictable. I found myself figuring out the plot by the time I finished a chapter or two. And the writing styles were incredibly dry and felt like a pain to endure.

I tried getting recommendations from my friends and perusing critic reviews in order to get back into the habit; in order to find a book that would catch and hold my interest again . . .

I didn’t succeed.

Of course, I did consider it absurd: The idea that, with readers so spoilt for choice right now, I couldn’t find a single book that could capture my interest. All of the writers couldn’t be that bad. The problem was most likely with me.

However, whether it was absurd or not, that was my condition after I had gotten used to the new responsibilities and had time for reading again – and it is still the same even now (though, perhaps, marginally better).

The one thing that made it better though – the thing that filled my reading void – was a sudden love I developed for movies. It actually caught me by surprise – though I suppose it shouldn’t have. For you see, for me, it was never about the books or the words or gaining a collection. It was about the story.

Whether I got a great story by reading, listening or watching didn’t bother me – as long as I got a great story. That was why I had taken a media course in the first place; why “communication” was a prime factor in my life.

It was just that, before this phase of mine, reading books had been the most independent and effective way that I got good stories for a long, long time. And then, when that waned, I could suddenly see the other storytelling media I could indulge in, leading me to watch and re-watch and analyze movies in the same way I used to read books! 🙂

Now I know many out there will say that a movie can’t compare to a good book, and still others who would rather gag than pick up a book to read over a movie. But I’m not going to get into that debate. I love both, and I can defend both. But that isn’t what this post is about. It’s about loving things and understanding how it makes up different parts of your personality. It’s about how habits you wished to keep for a lifetime faded away without your permission. It’s about finding out that something you believed might actually have not been the whole story. It’s about knowing yourself and understanding that you’ll never really stop learning or growing or changing . . . and that, in spite of it, some things don’t really change at all . . .

. . . I love movies. I truly, emphatically do! . . . But I still wish I could read like I used to.

 

Life's journey...
Things changing as you go through life . . . Some by conscious choice, some not . . .

Learn to Rhyme!

 

An online rhyming class.

Free verse has been sort of overtaking rhymes in poetry, and that’s resulted in rhyming getting a lot of flack. But the fact is it’s still very much in use – in songs, in greetings, in jingles; Rap is practically a testimony to it! 

So. To those who actually want to rhyme, want to create rhymes themselves for whatever reason – I’m giving online classes for the same.

Ciao! 😉 🙂