I learned that little jingle back in 7th grade, and it still goes through my head when I’m putting things off. Which has been known to happen time and again. Like just a few minutes ago. Which got me thinking.
Procrastination has always been an issue for middle school students. I mean, it must have been… if Mr. Everett (who was a pretty good teacher, with a ton of experience) felt the need to teach his history classes a preventative song about it. And this was way back in 1989, when our biggest distractions (at least mine anyway) were the phone, Sweet Valley High books, and a Milli Vanilli song on the radio. Don’t judge me. I’m sure the 7th grade you had questionable taste as well.
So what would Mr. Everett say now?
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for our kids to stay on task when they’re working on their computers. I can barely do it myself – hence that darn jingle getting stuck in my head. The Internet, with all of it’s amazing connections and resources, also offers us infinite hours of distraction. Certainly not all of it bad. I’m constantly getting sucked down a rabbit hole of research and links that just pull me farther away from what I originally set out to do…. and often, that’s when I find the best stuff.
In a recent study, researchers set out to observe students ranging from middle school through college doing their homework on a comupter, and found them switching tasks or getting distracted on an average of once every 3 minutes. That’s pretty shocking.
But when we look at what we know about their brain development, it’s not too surprising. They’ve got tiny little pre-frontal cortexes, and very little self control. That’s why it’s so important for us to try and teach it to them.
How? I’m not sure yet. I don’t think any of us are. I guess we just try our best to help them balance their technology use as we try to balance our own. Hopefully some new research will come out with all of the answers. If I find it… I’ll let you know.
And in the meantime? They’ve got an app for that.