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quarta-feira, 9 de maio de 2012

Have you ever considered Attention Blindness in your classroom?

Before starting talking about attention and the possible implications for the classroom I invite you to take two quick tests. Look carefully at the picture below.

Did you manage to find the solution? How long did it take you to get the answer? Now, go to the next one...

Were you able to see something different before getting to the end of the text? Probably not. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with it but you are probably wondering by now what these two tests have to do with education and my answer is EVERYTHING.
That’s precisely what Davidson illustrates in her book, Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn — a fascinating meditation on how “attention blindness,” the peculiar phenomenon illustrated by Harvard’s famous invisible gorilla experiment (the video is available on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pK0BQ9CUHk&feature=fvst). The author points out that as long as we focus on the object we know, we will miss the new one we need to see.  She examines the nature and evolution of attention, noting that the educational system is driven by very rigid expectations of what “attention” is and how it reflects “intelligence”. Yet neuroscience is increasingly indicating that our minds pay attention in a myriad different ways, often non-linear and simultaneous, which means that the academy and the workplace will have to evolve in parallel and transcend the 20th-century linear assembly-line model for eduction and work. For that,   the process of unlearning in order to relearn demands a new concept of knowledge not as thing but as a process, not as a noun but as a verb.”
What about you fellow teacher? How are you dealing with students who can't take their eyes off their cells, or keeping texting other people while you are striving to keep them engaged in class. My feeling is that just saying cells phones are not allowed is not enough. We have have to go beyond and show them how our brain works. So, what about inviting them to take the quiz I suggested above and explaining the  implications why cell phones or other tech gadgets are not welcome. This way you will be showing your students that your main concern is not to control their cells and what really matters for is to set up the right environment so that learning can actually take place!

For further information about this fascinating topic visit natgeo site:( http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/brain-games/pay-attention-facts/)

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