12 Brain Rules Chapter 4: Attention

Rule #4 : We don’t pay attention to boring things.

My take aways:

1.  I should structure my lesson into10 minutes segments of time.  I did this often during my first few years of teaching.  I only see my students for 20 or 30 minutes twice a week.  Using this format helped me as the teacher to stay organized.  Early in my career I had a tendency to over explain things.   Since I knew I HAD to move on to my second idea in ten minutes it helped me to keep things concentrated.

2.  I must connect each thing I am teaching to my students some how.  So often I think teacher feel the need to explain to kids why their subject is necessary.  Upon reading this book I was reminded that the student does not always need a “logical” investment in the subject.  Those emotional investments can provide learning that is just as, if not more permanent.  This is especially true for my elementary kids.  My subject becomes important because it’s how some kids cope with day to day living.  Part of what I do is helping my students to uncover why music moves people in such wonderful ways.

3.  Multi-tasking is a myth! Like many folks my initial response to this is “No Way! I multi-task all the time!”  But the author is referring to completing items that require us to pay attention.  Everything we do requires some degree of attention.  I can type and a answer a student’s question but neither item is going to get my best work.  This presents problems.  I can walk and talk at the same time but there are very few times in my life where my absolute best walking has been demanded of me for long periods of time.   But this idea of no multi-tasking does make me wonder about some of the new trends in technology in education, specifically the inclusion of a “back channel” in a classroom.  I do wonder about the long term effects on the student who is constantly being “multi-stimulated” in a classroom.  I know, I know, I’m going really old school here.  This one item may eventually turn into a whole blog post for me later.

Brenda Muench

music educator tech specialist

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