We Talk Too Much


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:

  1. Using research about multi-tasking to persuade people to turn off technology during lectures is not logical.
    1. This assumes students are trying to do two things at once
    2. It negates the notion that they are trying to stay engaged (and negates all the research on motivation)
    3. It assumes you are the most relevant and engaging thing at the moment  (what is the goal?)
  2.  If you find yourself lecturing to blank stares or keyboard clicks,
    1. Consider you ignored the 15 minute rule
    2. You failed to engage
    3. 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.


One thought on “We Talk Too Much

  1. Absolutely!….and there “it” is again; the implication that we “motivate” kids;…. and we should; provide meaningful information, presented elegantly ……but also too have taught the “motivation” skill set, so that kids learn what it takes to motivate themselves, and learn who’s responsibility it is, ultimately, to BE a motivated, engaged and passionate student.

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