Tag Archives: Train of Thought

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.

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(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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Chaos & Significance

There's this theory called the chaos theory. And the best way I can understand it and explain it is that even the most minute actions and beings can cause a chain reaction that stretches across the world – like the fluttering wings of a butterfly on one side of the planet causing a series of small to progressively larger reactions that causes a storm on the other side of the planet. That's pretty incredible, don't you think? I mean, it's like being "insignificant" in this universe is practically impossible. ~Written By A Moody Pen ~

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There’s this theory called the chaos theory. And the best way I can understand it and explain it is that even the most minute actions and beings can cause a chain reaction that stretches across the world – like the fluttering wings of a butterfly on one side of the planet causing a series of small to progressively larger reactions that cause a storm on the other side of the planet.

That’s pretty incredible, don’t you think? I mean, it’s like being “insignificant” in this universe is practically impossible. 🙂

 

Chaos Theory. @WOLIWAIS. Written By A Moody Pen. Blogging. Blog Post. There’s this theory called the chaos theory. And the best way I can understand it and explain it is that even the most minute actions and beings can cause a chain reaction that stretches across the world – like the fluttering wings of a butterfly on one side of the planet causing a series of small to progressively larger reactions that cause a storm on the other side of the planet. That’s pretty incredible, don’t you think? I mean, it’s like being “insignificant” in this universe is practically impossible.
Image Credit: http://www.deviantart.com/art/chaos-theory-4285627

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Accepting Fear: The Observations of a Self-Proclaimed Scaredy-Cat

I’m not fearless. I never have been. In fact, I’m the right opposite. Give me a situation, or any decision to consider, and I’d have thought of everything that could possibly go wrong before I even comprehend what could go right. And, if I make the decision to go ahead anyway despite those risks and nagging fears, I don’t start immediately. Rather, my first priority would be to make an insane set of backup plans so that, in the likelihood that anything goes wrong, I won’t fall or fail in a manner that I might never be able to recover from.

It’s pretty chronic, this fear and paranoia. But it’s as much a part of my personality as my arm is a part of my body. I’ve tried – before, multiple times – to get rid of it, but it won’t go away. All I found I could do (instead) was plow through those fears as every situation arose. I might even decide not to do something because of those nagging fears too. And whether or not someone else may decide it is a calculated risk or a limiting fear on my part, the fact is that I am the one who has to live with it. And it is not as easy to throw off as all those inspiring posts and messages say. Not for the timid. Not for those as naturally anxious and cautious as I tend to be.

But, at the same time, my fears, I’ve noticed, are never quite powerful enough to affect that which is truly important to me. It is just that, what is important enough for me to persevere through, might not be important enough for someone else to do the same. Just as something might seem incredibly important for someone else, but might not seem so important to me. So while I admire those who seem to live fearlessly and boldly everyday  – and I really, really do admire such people  –  I also know and accept that I am not like them.

So, when the fears strike – and they will, they always do – and I weigh them against how much I want something, and what I’m willing to risk, it usually has to be worth my courage for me to decide to fight those fears. For, while I may be willing to fight, I don’t see everything as a battle, and I don’t believe that everything needs to be fought and won. Because, on a more personal level, I’ve learnt that, sometimes, one needs to be as much at ease with and accepting of their fears as they are with their courage.

But hey, I know this won’t work for everyone. After all, we all have our own stories to write. And the battles, the characters, and the plots in each of our stories needn’t be the same.

In fact, it’s more likely that they aren’t.

And so…the point of my ramble, I suppose, is that it might not always be possible – or necessary – to get rid of one’s fears or fight them all the time…Instead, we might just be able to accept them as cautionary companions…

And that might not be as constraining as we might think. 🙂

 

I'm not fearless. I never have been. In fact, I'm the right opposite. Give me a situation, or any decision to consider, and I'd have thought of everything that could possibly go wrong before I even comprehend what could go right. And, if I make the decision to go ahead anyway despite those risks and nagging fears, I don't start immediately. Rather, my first priority would be to make an insane set of backup plans so that, in the likelihood that anything goes wrong, I won't fall or fail in a manner that I might never be able to recover from.  It's pretty chronic, this fear and paranoia. But it's as much a part of my personality as my arm is a part of my body. I've tried – before, multiple times – to get rid of it, but it won't go away. All I found I could do (instead) was plow through those fears as every situation arose. I might even decide not to do something because of those nagging fears too. And whether or not someone else may decide it is a calculated risk or a limiting fear on my part, the fact is that I am the one who has to live with it. And it is not as easy to throw off as all those inspiring posts and messages say. Not for the timid. Not for those as naturally anxious and cautious as I tend to be.  But, at the same time, my fears, I've noticed, are never quite powerful enough to affect that which is truly important to me. It is just that, what is important enough for me to persevere through, might not be important enough for someone else to do the same. Just as something might seem incredibly important for someone else, but might not seem so important to me. So while I admire those who seem to live fearlessly and boldly everyday  – and I really, really do admire such people  –  I also know and accept that I am not like them.  So, when the fears strike – and they will, they always do – and I weigh them against how much I want something, and what I'm willing to risk, it usually has to be worth my courage for me to decide to fight those fears. For, while I may be willing to fight, I don't see everything as a battle, and I don't believe that everything needs to be fought and won. Because, on a more personal level, I've learnt that, sometimes, one needs to be as much at ease with and accepting of their fears as they are with their courage.  But hey, I know this won't work for everyone. After all, we all have our own stories to write. And the battles, the characters, and the plots in each of our stories needn't be the same.  In fact, it's more likely that they aren't.  And so...the point of my ramble, I suppose, is that it might not always be possible – or necessary – to get rid of one's fears or fight them all the time...Instead, we might just be able to accept them as cautionary companions...  And that might not be as constraining as we might think. :)    Accepting Fears Blog post: You can't get rid of your fears... But you can learn to get rid of them. You can't get rid of your fears...But you can learn to live with them.
You can’t get rid of your fears…But you can learn to live with them.