February 22, 2011 by readlisaread
We have something built into our timetable called “Long Advisory”. Regular (and long) advisory are new terms for “Home Room”. There is an expectation that rather than just take attendance and hand out the occasional notice, rather we are to form healthy relationships with our advisees and counsel and care for them as necessary. The concept is great, added to the fact that we keep students in our advisory from grade 7 through to grade 9, allowing the honest growth of real relationship. All of this is great, with one exception…. the every Monday morning Extended Advisory. The Monday time is intended to be used for “extras”– like quizzes, assemblies, or school-wide activities. If these were only occasional, they would be valuable, but a weekly diet of activities invented to kill the extra 20 minutes does not sit well in a culture of constant push.
This week’s offering was from a series regarding “Brain Rules”. Some of the concepts are worthy, but as always, it’s the execution that is the weakness. The objective of today’s activity was to prove that people cannot multitask….or at least, multitask successfully. So, all the students were given a sheet of paper labeled with Test A and Test B. The first test was the recitation of 10 common words, read over the Loudspeaker. To “prove” that multitasking is inefficient, Test B had a similar set of words read out in a similar manner, but with the addition of a pop song playing, and a recorded conversation. As predicted, there was no appreciable difference in results between Test A and Test B.
There was learning as a result of this activity. The students learned that when someone tells them in the future that they cannot work efficiently while multitasking, they can say they took a test that proves they can.