Tag Archives: Teaching

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/

Just FYI: “Help” Is Better When It Doesn’t Chase “To”

*No using “to” after the verb “help” in a sentence, please!*

Generally in a sentence, when we use one verb after another, the second verb is written in its “to+infinitive” form.

For example, consider the following sentence:

Ram tried to persuade him.

Here, the verbs “try” and “persuade” are used one after the other. And since “persuade” is the second verb, it is written in the form of “to+infinitive”, that is, it is written as “to persuade”.

This works for all kinds of verbs. But just not when “help” is the first verb.

The word “help” is an auxiliary verb and is a special verb. This means that when you use the word “help”, and it is followed by another verb, you do not need write the second verb in its “to+infinitive” form.

For example:

“Help me find my pen.” is correct.
“Help me to find my pen.” is incorrect.

“Budgets can help save money.” is correct.
“Budgets can help to save money.” is incorrect.

“He helped her look for you.” is correct.
“He helped her to look for you.” is incorrect.

etc.

So don’t put “to” in front of “help” in a sentence; they simply don’t go well together.

Just FYI. Ciao! 😉

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! 😉 🙂

 

Teach a Language? Use a Movie!

With spoken English being a subject I’ve been teaching for a while now, I’ve discovered one irrefutable fact – a fact that I’ve also seen hold true with other subjects and languages as well:

Application is fun. Theorising though? Not so much.

It all comes down to the student’s interest, really. And in my experience, I’ve found that getting the student even remotely interested in the subject is half the battle. For after I manage to succeed there, I find that I can finally relax a bit and proceed to the actual tutoring part.

And the best way to spark interest is to try application methods. For instance, if you’re teaching spoken English classes, try using English movies as the teaching tool. It works a whole lot better than books many a time, trust me! And don’t stick to classics and Oscar winners either (unless your students are actually into that kind of stuff). Ask them during the first few classes what their favourite movies are. Talk to them about it. Get a feel for it. And then select the movies you want to watch.

Mind, the movies you use don’t have to be their favourites. It just has to fall into a genre that they won’t find boring. And right there – when you take away the “boring” – you will spark that much-needed “interest” in your student that will send you well on your way to really teaching them.

And don’t just stop at movies. Use songs, trailers, advertisements and word games as you progress, and anything else that you think will help. Because, when you use stuff that’s generally categorized as “entertainment” and “fun” in teaching a subject or skill, that subject or skill becomes entertaining and fun too! The students see how it’s a part of their lives now and don’t need you to tell them how it’s used. And in consequence, they also realize that they don’t have to wait years later to use what they learn.

So please, all you teachers out there? Do yourselves and your students a favour and let them have a little fun. It does a whole lot more good than you realize. 🙂

 

(And now for your grinning pleasure 😉 )

Calvin & Hobbs Comic

(Image Credit)

Force-Fed Poems Do Not a Poem Lover Make

As I believe I’ve mentioned once before, I’m a tutor. And one of the subjects I cater to is English. As such, it’s no surprise that I often have the unhappy responsibility of force-feeding some of my students their prescribed quota of poems and lessons. Now, as a rule, most students aren’t supposed to be excited to explore their textbooks. It’s just the natural order of things. And anyone in the position of a teacher must understand that and accept it as part of the package.

But! . . . Dear God! What in the name of all the heavens and hells perceived by bipeds on this planet are the people who structured those textbooks thinking??!!! How on earth does anyone expect a kid to want to read when they insist on stuffing such dry, slow-moving, surreal texts down a 10 to 15-year-old’s throat?! Heck, I love reading and some of those chapters made me want to doze off! How am I supposed to justify the beauty of it to my student?!

Honestly! It’s no wonder that by the time they reach college that they avoid books like the bubonic plague!

PG Wodehouse, Shakespeare, etc. . . . Look, I know they’re wonderful authors. But I do remember reading them at my students’ age too, and, although English was my best subject and I seemed to have had a higher ability to understand them compared to my peers at the time, I’d still found them preachy and boring and couldn’t wait to get rid of them.

It really wasn’t until I reached college that I could actually enjoy and appreciate those texts. (Though a few of them still do repel me, but that’s more a matter of personal taste now than the material being unpalatable to the general age-group.)

The point is, even if these texts aren’t extremely difficult to understand, the students are simply not yet ready to be able to relate to the plot. It goes over their heads, and not because the students are incapable. They simply haven’t reached the stage in their lives where the flowery phrases and situations they refer to have any meaning to them. They’re not there yet. Sure, you might find a few nonconformists to the age who actually can relate to it and love it. But textbooks aimed at the entire student population are not supposed to be viable only to specific kids.

Plus, in the end, nobody likes being forced. So when they’re compelled to endure dry, unrelatable material during their formative years, all it does is cause them to shove books away when they’re finally allowed to choose their own material.  Even if they don’t consciously do it, the habit of having to read and then learn stuff that seems useless to them, will subconsciously create in them an aversion to reading altogether.

And that’s just plain sad. 😦

 

student lesson funny reaction