This is one of my favorite Gary Larson comics regarding what we say and what dogs hear us say. I used to love it because of my belligerent pug, The Pig.
I recalled it tonight after the presidential debate when I realized I wasn’t sure what just happened.
Now, it reminds me of sitting in a lecture hall. Did everyone miss the research about attention spans lasting 15-20 minutes on a good day?
Fold into this conundrum the research folks like to throw around about “multi-tasking”. The deal is, apparently, you CANNOT multi-task, so stop trying. Emailing and listening is task-switching. Task-switching is what happens when you try to text and drive. I can send you pictures to warn you about what that might look like.
This leads me here:
- Using research about multi-tasking to persuade people to turn off technology during lectures is not logical.
- This assumes students are trying to do two things at once
- It negates the notion that they are trying to stay engaged (and negates all the research on motivation)
- It assumes you are the most relevant and engaging thing at the moment (what is the goal?)
- If you find yourself lecturing to blank stares or keyboard clicks,
- Consider you ignored the 15 minute rule
- You failed to engage
- Your students took it into their own hands
What motivates students? Autonomy, mastery, purpose, environments worth an investment, valued relationships & skills that are valued.
What might you change now to meet the needs of the eyes counting on you for a productive tomorrow?
Lectures don’t beget application, evaluation and creation. The weight of our efforts belongs there.