Remember the 50s and 60s when classrooms of kids sat in perfect rows, pencils at the ready, eyes glued on the teacher who sagely lectured the captive audience? I do. I was the kid that was never quite in her seat, never quite learning enough, always getting report card comments, “She needs to pay more attention in class,” and, “Not working to her potential”.
I haven’t changed.
I attend a weekly lecture series, and as in childhood days, I was getting little out of it. Last week I quit trying to fit the mold, and chose to listen in a way I knew would work for me. I opened the Wood Puzzle game on my tablet, and, as I knew would happen, I was able to fully concentrate on the lecture. Why? Because a part of my brain was occupied elsewhere. At least that’s how I see it.
If I listen to radio talk shows when I drive and I take in what I hear. If I play my Wood Puzzle game while watching documentaries, the information registers. For me, I need that added semi-mindless distraction to fully engage with what I’m listening to.
We’ve come to accept this with people who doodle during a meeting or in a lecture. We’re okay with that. Now, please, lets take this acceptance to the next level.
When I left that lecture last week my head was happily filled with interesting new concepts to cogitate on, but my pleasure was dampened by the withering look of an acquaintance who had been sitting behind me, and saw, I presume, what I was doing.
May I present this to those of you who lecture, those of you who preach, those of you who sit beside others who don’t appear to be listening attentively?
Kids who learn in a variety of ways become adults who learn in a variety of ways. Such as:
- Reading out loud, to both hear and see the information
- Closing their eyes (not sleeping) to reduce visual distraction
- Head down on the table to still the body
- Doodling, or playing games on a mobile device
- Pacing at the back of the room
- Laying flat on the stomach (some say this accesses the reptilian brain. Go figure)
For those of us who learn outside the norm, we have to make a choice. Distract the lecturer or preacher, behave the way those around us expect us to behave, or listen in a way that works for us.
Are there others out there like me? What do you need to do when you listen so you can fully hear?
Photo Credits: href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29998366@N02/3916313892″; Neil. Moralee <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62586117@N05/17040346110″>Edna; Alan Light <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/42274165@N00/30143496453″>Iowa City; oggin <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85755792@N00/11945521824″