Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Trouble with our Attention Span.

I took my class to the new Calgary Science Centre yesterday and I was impressed with the exhibits and hands-on activities available for the students. They were playing in water and sand, creating movies and pictures, experimenting with electric current, designing clothes and even making interesting inventions with hot glue guns (yikes!). It was a wonderful day, but very overwhelming. I spent most of my time looking for my group. After a while I decided that if we agreed to stay in one exhibit and I could check on them once and a while they were free to explore. Towards the end of our time there I noticed a quote hanging on the wall near a quieter area of the building. This is what it said, "The only factor becoming scarce in the world of abundance is human attention"- Kevin Kelly. I was so taken back by the truthfulness of this saying that I had to take a picture. My own students are examples of this inability to attend to one thing for a time. Just watching them bounce from one station to another was exhausting. I feel as though I have also lost this discipline of attention. How often am I baking cookies, doing laundry, uploading pictures, marking and talking to my husband all at the same time. Not only that, I get easily board of just sitting, just being still. I can't even wait for my computer to load a program without reaching for something else to fill my time. I am sure I could go on and on about this, but I'd like to end with a questions I have been pondering. Are we, or how are we helping our students develop patience (or human attention) in this world of convenience, fast pace and open 24/7?


  1. I've often wondered about how the many items taxing our attention affects student learning. I haven't come to any good conclusions though. :)


  2. Thanks for the comment, Darlena. I think this is an important topic to think about as a teacher.

  3. Sigh, we're all in the same boat. I wish there was a magic answer. I've found myself telling my students that we're going to practice patience just like we practice everything else.

    I awarded your blog the Liebster today. Click on over to my blog to see what it's about.

    Keep learning!