On Being Entertainers

Thanks to John for sending us this article:

In a NYT article on the impact of technology on student attention spans, we see another example of a “dedicated” teacher taking it all on:

“’I’m an entertainer. I have to do a song and dance to capture their attention,’ said Hope Molina-Porter, 37, an English teacher at Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif., who has taught for 14 years.”

These teachers are burning themselves out because they are missing the point. Students are capable of attention, extended attention, if they perceive the subject to be immediately relevant to them. Grabbing their attention with a song and dance will not only not last, but students will come to expect “entertainment” in the classroom, just as they expect from their screens. But the screens also give students instant access to communication with peers about personal emotional relationships–and this has always been the priority. It’s just like those glances around the classroom which communicate so much, and are much more important/interesting/crucial to students’ lives than what the teacher is saying. So if we cultivate personal emotional relationships through compassionate and personalized CI, we don’t have to entertain them.

Here’s the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/education/technology-is-changing-how-students-learn-teachers-say.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

John

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