Thursday, December 25, 2014

Favorite comments of '14, cont: Auntie Ann, momof4, and Cynthia812

On The lost arts of listening and learning:

Auntie Ann said...
I remember reading a story years ago about one of the differences between China and the US. In China, schools made an effort to increase children's short attention spans. In the US schools seek to accommodate them.

It seems to me that working to expand kids' attention spans should be a goal of school, and simple things like reading a couple picture books or a chapter or two in a chapter book would do a lot.
momof4 said...
I definitely agree that schools do not seem to be interested in increasing kids' attention spans, either for listening closely or for doing their own work independently. Quite the opposite; the expectation now seems to be that kids should either be entertained (preferably in hi-tech or gimmicky ways) or talking to each other (aka pooling their ignorance or -more likely- talking about non-academic matters). Also, I've also wondered, since the early days of ADHD, if video games and other fast-paced, instant-response activities) do not aggravate the distraction/lack of focus factor - at least in susceptible kids. All of my kids' contemporaties with ADHD were seriously into gaming; significantly more than their non-ADHD counterparts.

I also think that reading to preschoolers not only increases their vocab, which is a proxy for their knowledge about the world, but increases their ability to listen and pay attention. Years of this makes a huge difference when kids enter school The Core Knowledge curriculum has a heavy focus on high-quality teacher read-alouds, across the disciplines, but kids need to listen and pay attention if they are to maximize the benefit of such readings.
Cynthia812 said...
Even TV is apparently not interesting enough to hold attention anymore. I was watching a "documentary" about crazy events in nature. We're talking really spectacular volcanic explosions, tornados, animals doing crazy things, etc. And the filmmaker WOULD NOT let you just watch the amazing thing happening. They bounced the imaged around, showed you two seconds at a time, and used so many pop up cartoon bubbles it looked like an old Batman movie. I was so frustrated, because the videos were pretty amazing, and I didn't get to see them or take them in.

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