Hyperattention is a new concept to the world but it allows individuals who are multitaskers to learn utilizing different things at one time.
[to be answered in class, on 11/14, in 7min or less]
How do we know if we’ve achieved the right balance between hyper and deep attention, either in our own reading and writing practices or in our classrooms?
During our class discussion, I did not think of this absence in my literacy history. However, over the last day I have been wondering if it has had an effect on me.
I do not want to say that I grew up in a non-religious family. I didn’t. We all have our beliefs and morals. I cannot say that I grew up in a church though. My only experiences with church would be the occasional visit with a friend. To take it a step further, I could not even state a denomination I would affiliate myself with at this point. This is not to say I do or do not believe in God, or that anyone in my family does or doesn’t, that is not the point. I just thought some background was necessary.
The point I have been contemplating, because of the discussion and reading about church playing a big roll in literacy early on, is could my apprehension and hate for reading and writing early in life have stemmed from my lack of attending church?
We stated that much of church revolved around reading. However, some stated that writing was required in Sunday-School-Like classes. These classes are something I have never experienced. I wonder perhaps if I would have attended these types of classes my outlook on literacy would have been different while I was younger. I’ll never know for sure; it is too late for me at this point.
I do want to know your thoughts though. Do you think church affected your literacy history and outlook on it? If so does it make it better or worse? Do you think church could have helped me? Or other “kids these days?”
I’ll argue that listening to a radiodiary is not a literacy event. Listening to Clarissa Shields, I did not need to use my writing or reading skills. In order to navigate the internet to get to her radiodiary, sure I would need to read and write the website address and that would be considered a use of literacy. However, the act of listening to her radiodiary only uses oral comprehension.
Some would argue that this radiodiary could be connected to the written word – Clarissa may have needed to use literacy in order to make it – which would make it in some way a literacy event. This brings to mind the question: is creating an audio essay or diary entry a literacy event? Using Audacity in class last Wednesday, I needed to be able to read the sound-clip website information in order to find useful sound clips. I needed also to read some of the buttons on Audacity’s menu to operate the program. So, according to my definition, using Audacity in class would be considered a literacy event. However, if I used memorization skills while professor Vee taught us how to operate Audacity and I could figure out how to operate the program without reading, I could technically create an audio essay or diary entry without the use of literacy.
This is interesting to me because in the world of the WWW anyone who can write can post online, but that is still limited to “literate” people. With audio essays, it is more possible for someone to share their experiences without knowing how to read or write.
I don’t know if this counts as an appropriate literacy blog. However I felt really passionate about a personal literacy event that just happened to me, that I thought could relate to the idea of actually enjoying the process of writing- because I never felt that happiness until after I had a finished product.
So I wrote my very first love letter (I know kind of cheesy- but I’m a hopeless romantic). So I had this great idea for a love letter, that I’m going to type with the typewriter my boyfriend got me- make it more special lol. Background information: prior to this class I did not believe I was a good writer. I would always get frustrated when that blank page would stare me in the face. But as I saw my improvements in this class, I realized how much more confident I was as a writer. When I wrote this cheesy but genuine love letter- I had no fear of sounding stupid or lame- I was able to write down my exact feelings with ease and happiness. I thought how to connect this love letter to the idea of making writing fun in the school. I don’t think there is a certain activity or experiment that we hope will make someone feel writing is fun. Yes, maybe in the moment it my trigger some happiness, but not future fun. I think the main focus should be on the writers confidence. We need to give a confident structure so improvement can genuinely grow. Show off the students talents and show them how their weaknesses can reflect brighter. Just the process of learning how to write, and learning that one has the ability to write beautifully can be the start of fun writing. It is hard as a teacher to give an assignment that a student actually wants to do; just because an assignment is called “an assignment” gives it a bad connotation of a task we have to do, and already makes the student not truly want to do it. But once confidence is built then one can use writing in their own personal way- like my love letter. They’ll want to do it, truly feeling the fun and beauty before, during, and after their literature is finished.
“How was Brandon today?” a mother asks me as she picks her son up from camp. Brandon wasn’t that good today. I repeatedly asked him to tie his shoes, stop talking while we go over directions for a game, and to sit down. The kid was crazy. Nice, but crazy. How do I phrase that to a parent?
“He was fine? He looked like he was really enjoying the games we played.” I finally said. This was true, but I omitted the fact that it took a lot of effort to get him to understand how to play the game because he kept talking and interrupting during instructions causing him to do things wrong once we got the game going.
She let out a sigh of relief. “I’m so glad he wasn’t a problem. You see, he has ADHD and we’ve taken him off his medication for the summer. He’s been taking it for a year and hasn’t gained a single pound, so we’re testing this to see if he can gain some weight.”
Ohhh. That explains it. From then on I gave her accurate responses on how her son had behaved at camp. I felt like I couldn’t get away with saying “he had fun” everyday so I told her the ups and downs of Brandon’s day at camp. Brandon obviously had hyper attention and on his bad days I would think to myself, this kid needs to be medicated! But, I wish it wasn’t the societal norm that kids with extra energy need to be controlled. Brandon’s meds probably helped him focus, but it was hurting his body–the kid was really skinny! How can he grow and be healthy if he’s taking a substance that’s preventing that? As the weeks went by and I got to know Brandon better, I started to understand more of what hyper attention was. He wasn’t trying to annoy the counselors or the other kids, he was just excited and had to try to listen and talk at the same time to feel properly engaged. Little things, like tied shoelaces, weren’t worth his time or effort. For Brandon, it was go big or go home. In a camp setting, the kids with a lot of energy or hyper attention are difficult, but way more fun and engaging than the kids who refuse to do anything.
Every Wednesday and Friday we would watch a movie at the end of the day. It was interesting to see how the most energetic kids would completely zone in on the movie or only watch every other scene. Hayles recognizes how “stimulation by media” is correlated with hyper attention. Brandon would either watch the entire movie without being distracted, or sit in the back and talk and play with things. It depended entirely on how interested he was in the movie. There was no formula to predict his behavior. Sometimes he said he had already seen the movie and wasn’t interested in re-watching it, but other times he needed convincing that a movie he hadn’t seen was worth watching.
It was hard to win with Brandon, but I learned a lot from watching him over the course of the summer. Keeping a kid in check without making him feel like his energy is bad is a difficult task. Hayles says, “educators face a choice: change the students to fit the educational environment or change that environment to fit the students.” I find it dangerous to try and change the person. I worked on being more patient with Brandon and pulling him aside and saying, “hey look, if you want to play the game, it’s really important you listen to the rules and follow the directions. If you don’t you’re going to have to sit out and I know both of us want you to run around and play.” Telling him that I want him to use his energy made him more inclined to learn the rules of the game. It’s an educators’ job to understand their students and environment they’re teaching in and adapt. Changing the educational mold is no doubt difficult, but ultimately better for the teacher and the students to have a classroom full of energy and creativity.
A couple sentences in Brandt’s article really caught my attention. It talked about how historically reading was seen as a right and a responsibility and that writing was never seen in that light. Now writing is seen more valued than reading and it is protected because of what it can do for readers. It also mentioned that we are more and more using the same mediums for both writing and reading. Historically we had books to read and paper to write on. Now we seem to read and write on the same things, mostly. I’ve noticed that a lot of students use their laptops or tablets to take notes and as their textbooks for class. It’s becoming more of a blur of reading and writing in that sense because there are no separate mediums for each one. Since literacy is so complex and it seems to be constantly evolving I am wondering whether or not in the future these things will be two separate things. They seem to be getting closer and closer together and it seems as if, at least to me, they will eventually just merge together. Or maybe, reading and writing will become so much more complex that they will be completely separate entity that will take years of schooling to be able to do either one.
Technology has become a huge part of our lives and it has severely impacted literacy and how we use it. It has caused us to become more dependent on it for our literacy purposes. It might even be hindering our literacy skills. We no longer spell out our words when texting and chat messaging and it is also affecting how we write professionally. Yet, we have the literacy skills to read and write in both contexts. We are able to read and write multiple acronyms that our parents or an older generation may not be able to understand. I just find it interesting how literacy is evolving and I am slightly terrified on what may be the next step.
I couldn’t agree more with Brandt’s article on the changing of mass literacy in the 21st century. This idea that mass writing is becoming more important than mass reading is very interesting. First off, as we’ve concluded, writing is often thought of as ‘work’ by many students. Reading, however, is considered to be an enjoyable pastime for the most part. Therefore, the idea that writing is for “production, output, earning, profit…” etc., as Brandt has suggested makes perfect sense. Whereas reading is often used to educate or entertain, writing is used to get stuff done. No wonder so many students hate writing.
Additionally, I have to agree with Brandt again that writing and reading are together, evolving alongside technology. It is no surprise that in the 21st century, millions of people are getting their news from the Internet instead of the traditional newspaper or magazine. However, this change is more than just a format adjustment. Internet news allows and frequently encourages reader feedback. Gone are the days of passive reading and writing. Now, online writers must anticipate comments from their readers. I am certain this changes how these authors write. It probably also changes how we read, knowing that we are entitled to share our views with the public in such a direct and effective way. I personally enjoy this new style of reading. Frequently, I’m just as drawn to the readers’ comments as I am to the article itself. I can only imagine how this increase in mass writing will affect teaching styles in the years to come.
Reading through the Brandt chapter “Literacy and Learning,” made me recall two events on the environmental factors (workplace) affecting a person’s reading and writing learning.
On Thursday, I attended a meeting at the Homewood Carnegie Library. The conversation was about the head librarian not engaging the community to partake in the literacy within the library. She is very knowledgeable but introverted. As I am reading about Henry Leonard’s account of how he had to make the shift from viewing his customer base as thinking like readers to thinking like writers, I realized that the head librarian has not embraced that concept and implemented it into the workplace for herself or her staff.
The other event is my own personal experience with writing. Many times in class I say I am not a writer, yet by definition of this chapter, I can say that I am a writer. I agree with Brandt’s statement that “ Learning writing is necessitated on the job by a range of pressures ….” The development of my writing has been associated with work and not with my public school education. I have not taken ownership of it because I do not view it as not personally mines.
Brandt does a comparison between Leonard and his son. This shows how literacy is changing. Leonard’s son has had a different literacy learning than his father, which has a foundation in writing. As current adults how do we adapt, improvise and merge Brandt’s view on reading and writing literacy with tradition for the next generation?
I interviewed the president of PEN Belarus, Andrei Khadanovich, last week (brilliant poet/musician/translator) and he recommended I read some of Vladimir Korotkevich’s work. I loved it, and thought I’d share it with you all :). Earthquake