Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Attention of Students

"In whatever instructional setting, the first charge to the teacher is to get and to hold the attention of students because interest (motivation) is a prerequisite condition for effective learning." This quote is from The Essence of Good Teaching, by Stanford C. Ericksen (1984). Wouldn't it be interesting to follow around a student for a day, and watch them settle into each of their classes? Wouldn't it be interesting to see how the student's attention is held (or not held) by his/her instructors? And how do various teaching styles and modes of presenting material help or hamper an instructor's ability to gain and maintain the attention of students? Hmmm.

An exercise for students: for one day, keep a diary that describes your attention span in each of your classes. Was the instructor able to keep your attention? If so, how? If not, why not? Generally speaking, what do instructors do well to maintain your attention? What do instructors do to lose your attention? Finally, what is your responsibility for paying attention?

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