Just read this article entitled Age of Distraction: Why it’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus.
I suppose most teachers would say they have seen students ability to focus decline over the years…but for me I have seen the time students are supposed to be focusing sharply increase over the years and wonder if there is not a correlation there. Every second of the school day in which students used to be able to let their brains relax has been removed. They have to constantly be “on.” There is one block of time during the day in which the kids are in academic classes for 3.5 hours straight, with two breaks to walk across the hall to the next class. Teachers are forcing more into lessons, requiring more intense focus for longer stretches. Every single conference, professional development, and even every work day for me has more time built into it for my brain to relax than a kid’s does. And remember that it does not end when the final bell rings with after school activities and homework.
From what I see, kids are doing a pretty good job focusing. I know few adults who could survive as a student today.