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Antidote for Mind Wandering
December 9, 2021
Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.
-Jose Ortega y Gasset
Having a hard time focusing? Don’t despair! It’s natural. Scientists at Princeton and Berkeley have found that the human brain rhythmically alternates between periods of intense focus and periods of distractibility. And we can improve focus by limiting distractions and increasing movement. A study by Wilson in 2005 found interruptions by emails and calls resulted in a 10 point decline in effective IQ, while a 2021 study by Pindus et al found individuals who spent more sedentary time in bouts lasting 20 minutes or more were less able to overcome distractions.

In his book Focus, The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Daniel Goleman suggests, “The antidote for mind wandering is meta-awareness, attention to attention itself, as in the ability to notice that you are not noticing what you should, and correcting your focus. Mindfulness makes this crucial attention muscle stronger.”

And what are the implications for supporting young children to learn to pay attention? In her book, Really Seeing Children, Deb Curtis notes, “We often characterize children’s shifting focus as a lack of attention span, when in fact, what is really happening is they have attention for everything.” In light of this keen observation, the question becomes not how to increase attention, but how to focus it. And to do so requires that we hone our own ability to focus. Carol Garboden Murray links this directly to an intentional practice of care in daily routines with children. In her new book, Illuminating Care, she notes, “When we unite care and education, we know that to care well, we must observe, listen and match our approach to meet the child’s individual needs. Care offers us the opportunity to grow into more sensitive and sharp teachers.”

 
 




Really Seeing Children

Use coupon code SEEING
to get 40% off on this title

Deb Curtis, in her more than 40 years as an early childhood educator, has cultivated a reflective teaching practice devoted to really seeing children.

Through her collection of stories and photographs, learn to suspend your adult agenda to really see children's perspectives and the amazing ways they experience the world. Taking up this practice will bring joy and deeper understanding to your work and life and allow you to engage with children in a more meaningful teaching and learning process.

Use coupon code SEEING at checkout.

Offer valid through December 10, 2021, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.
May not be combined with any other offer.
Not applicable on past purchases or bulk discounts.

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