By Katrina Schwartz
There’s no doubt there are more distractions bombarding students than there were 50 years ago. Most kids have cellphones, use social media, play games, watch TV and are generally more “plugged in” than ever before. This cultural shift means that in addition to helping students gain the transferable skills and knowledge they’ll need later in life, teachers may have to start helping them tune out the constant buzz in order to get their message across. It’s never too early to learn smart strategies to focus in on priorities and tune out what’s not immediately necessary.
Many people believe they are skilled multitaskers, but they’re wrong. Neuroscience has shown that multitasking — the process of doing more than one thing at the same time — doesn’t exist.
“The brain doesn’t multitask,” said Daniel Levitin, author and professor of psychology, behavioral neuroscience and music at McGill University on KQED’s Forum program. “It engages in sequential tasking or unitasking, where we are shifting rapidly from one thing to another without realizing it.” The brain is actually fracturing time into ever smaller parts and focusing on each thing individually.