Book available for pre-order!

We’re excited to announce that our book Five Teaching and Learning Myths – Debunked by Dr. Adam Brown and Dr. Althea Need Kaminske, is available for pre-order!

From the publisher: Drawing from research in developmental and educational psychology, cognitive science, and the learning sciences, Five Teaching and Learning Myths―Debunked addresses some of the most commonly misunderstood educational and cognitive concerns in teaching and learning. Multitasking, problem-solving, attention, testing, and learning styles are all integral to student achievement but, in practice, are often muddled by pervasive myths. In a straightforward, easily digestible format, this book unpacks the evidence for or against each myth, explains the issues concisely and with credible evidence, and provides busy K-12 teachers with actionable strategies for their classrooms and lesson plans.

“In this book, research on a complicated subject―teaching and learning myths―is summarized and made readable for teachers and other school staff. I recommend this to all people who educate. It will save you time, make your teaching more efficient, and ensure that your students learn more, better.”

―Stuart Lock, Principal, Bedford Free School, Bedford, UK

Five Teaching and Learning Myths―Debunked is perfect for the classroom teacher. It is an easily accessible and understandable text that can immediately be applied and improve the classroom. It is perfect for casual reading or whole-school professional development. As a teacher, I especially appreciate the kindergarten-to-twelfth-grade activities included with each chapter that assist with implementation of strategies in the classroom. I highly recommend this book for teachers of all age groups and abilities.”

―Blake Harvard, James Clemens High School, USA

“Brown and Need Kaminske’s book is something that cognitive psychologists have needed to produce for some time now: a brief, accessible, and well-organized guide to some of the most pervasive myths in how we learn. Most importantly, the authors also offer advice on what to do next, once they’re done debunking. Educators of all levels will learn something new about what the evidence from cognitive psychology has to say about common concerns about the classroom.”

―Joshua VanArsdall, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Elmhurst College, USA

“This joyful, informative book is packed with practical examples that will have you nodding in agreement and recognition the whole way through. Unashamedly aimed at those who love learning and love to learn about learning, it finds the right balance of brevity, allowing you to read and follow its narrative easily, and well-referenced evidence, so you can follow up anything you’re particularly interested in.”

―Niki Kaiser, chemistry teacher and Network Research Lead at Norwich Research School at Notre Dame High School, UK

“Teachers will find this book to be incredibly useful in understanding the myths and the research related to student learning. The book is clear and concise, making it accessible to teachers with a range of familiarity with research on teaching and learning. The connection boxes tie everything together to make a complex topic more understandable.”

―Megan A. Sumeracki, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Rhode Island College, USA

Buy it now from Routledge and from Amazon.com!

 

Are you a great multitasker?

Written by Martha Zimmerman

Multitasking is a myth; what you are actually doing is task switching. This idea may challenge how we view ourselves, students, or our colleagues. You may believe that you have the ability to complete two or more tasks at once; however, you are actually alternating between the tasks. Moving between tasks can cause a decrease in productivity (Rubenstein, Meyer, & Evans, 2001). Some tasks will be completed, but the other tasks will perhaps be left behind (Wise, 2012). The delay that multitasking causes can affect productivity in the classroom.

multitasking-or-attention-switching

Students will also attempt to multitask while in your classroom. This may look like texting, checking notifications, or using social media on laptops instead of taking notes. Students should hold themselves accountable, but may need guidance on how to avoid multitasking. You can model ways to avoid multitasking to help students. So: How do YOU stop multitasking? Try the following:

  1. Draw two horizontal parallel lines and grab someone to time you.

On the top line write, “I am a great multi-tasker”

On the second line write the numbers 1 through 20.

This should take about 20 seconds.

  1. Now try again but with multitasking. Have someone time you again.

Draw two more horizontal lines.

On the top you will again write, “I am a great multi-tasker.” You will write 1 through 20 again on the second line. This time you will write one letter on the top line and then one number on the second line, until you have finished completing both lines. Unless you are extremely gifted and talented you will more than likely see that your completion time has increased significantly. The reason that the second activity takes longer is because you are task switching.

Trying this activity for yourself can demonstrate that multitasking is not occurring, and attempting to can actually reduce productivity. To show students that they are not actually completing two tasks at once, you can even have them try this activity.

Now that you hopefully can see that multitasking is not real, let’s talk about how this can affect our students. Students will attempt to multitask in your classroom; whether it is by reading or doing homework for another class, trying to sneak in snapchats, or texting. This multitasking can have many negative effects on students. Unacapher, Thieu, and Wagner (2016) found that students who were identified as heavy media multitaskers (HMM) were found to have a diminished working memory, even if at the time of the test there was no media present. As educators our goal should be to help students build cognitive skills, and not lose what they already have. So, how can we avoid “multitasking” or task switching?

One way to best help students avoid multitasking is to model that behavior ourselves. One way you can do that is to keep a log of the times that you notice you are “multitasking.” Bringing awareness to this can help prevent it from reoccurring. Make a point to let your students know that you caught yourself attempting to switch between tasks. Hold your students accountable for doing the same thing while in your classroom, and out.

If you are willing to try logging when you are attempting to multitask you may find yourself becoming more productive; when you’re writing down your instances of multitasking include the task you wanted to switch to. Having this record may help you complete both tasks, however just at separate times

There are different ways that we can avoid multitasking. To begin helping ourselves and our students we can begin by logging and paying attention to our behavior.

References

Rubenstein, Meyer, & Evans. (2001). Executive control of cognitive proces in task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & PerformanceI27(4), 763-97

 

Uncpher, M., Thieu, M., & Wagner, A. (2016). Media multitasking and memory: differences in working memory and long-term memory Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2(23), 483-490

 

Wise, M. (2012). The multitasking myth: Handling complexity in real-world operations. MPAEA Journal Of Adult Education41(2), 68-71.

Welcome!

Welcome to the Center for Attention, Learning, & Memory at St. Bonaventure University! The Center for Attention, Learning, & Memory (CALM) conducts interdisciplinary research on attention, learning, and memory. Part of the mission of CALM is to share that research with educators, faculty, staff, and students who want to know about the latest educationally relevant research. To learn more about what we do at the center check out our About page.

Each month we will be picking a theme in education, cognitive psychology, or the learning sciences to explore. We will post resources and blog posts that will expand on that theme. Head over to the Blog to read more about this month’s theme: Multitasking.

This center would not be possible if not for the fantastic graduate and undergraduate students working on research and education projects. To learn more about the staff at CALM check out our Personnel page.

 

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