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.

1 comment

  1. The article seems to confuse the ability to focus and the will or motivation to focus. Students might be focused, but not on the things you’d like them to be focused upon. Focus seems to be too rigidly defined.

    I found it tiring to focus in grade school because of the consistent changing of classes, the need to be “on” all the time, and the number of different things I was supposed to manage. Combine that with the uncomfortable furniture, lack of natural lighting, and primarily auditory lessons, and you’ve got a terrible environment for focus.

    College was a relief. Less classes, less time spent in classrooms, and more time to spend on each of my interests. Plus I could take a break whenever I wanted. Incubation time seems to be highly underrated in our grade schools today. The author probably would call it “unfocused” time. It’s simply not valued in our technocratic, positivist understanding of the world.

    PS. I’ve started a blog. Thank you for the push!

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