Paying Attention to Attention

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article about “Focusing on Focus” and the importance of the arts in promoting executive function. The article is also available here http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/frontal-cortex/. Basically, as Leher puts it, “If we want our children to succeed in the age of information, we need to give them the mental tools that matter. The world has changed. The mind can’t stay the same.” Agreed & let’s get back to giving students something they WANT to pay attention to, like problem-based learning, creative expression, and developing craft. Another quote: “Yet, despite this impressive evidence, most schools do virtually nothing to develop executive function. Even worse, education departments are slashing the very activities, such as physical exercise and the arts, that boost executive function among the broadest range of students.” Ironically, one of the most successful companies of recent times, with highly innovative products (you know I’m talking about Apple), was run by someone who knew the value of user-friendly design and aesthetics, who took college courses because they piqued an interest in (then) arcane things like fonts, and now, we all like to choose the typeface to suit our needs thanks to Steve Jobs’ ability to pay attention to the little things. It is all part of how we are wired, if we could only tap into that more in our classrooms.

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~ by lgirbino on September 7, 2011.

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