Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Talk like you Tweet

I have been trying to save energy in my classroom. I don't mean by turning off lights, or changing the power settings on my computer monitor. I mean I have been trying to save my own energy so I have more energy to be a good dad and husband when I come home for the day. So, now I am trying to talk less during some classes.

The approach has been thus - talk like I tweet. When I post a thought on twitter, I get 140 characters to get my message across. It forces me to be succinct, and choose my words carefully.

When I make a jing, I get five minutes for my video, and that is it. Is this a sign of the times that people are developing shorter attention spans. Perhaps, but I think it is also equally likely that some people who like to talk have always been not quite as interesting to listen to as they think, and that now there are more options for people's attention.

Be brief, and set more realistic goals for communication. Talk for less time than people expect; they will appreciate it. Repeat yourself - students often need that . Eventually the message gets through.

4 comments:

Michal said...

I agree with you that often times people (usually in a group setting) appreciate it when people end up talking less than anticipated. I'm trying to wrap my head around talking like you tweet in the classroom, though. I completely understand the conservation of energy part (kudos, by the way, on doing what you can to put your family first and also maintain balance in your life). I'm a bit wary of the - this if for lack of a better word - 'catering' to the seemingly shorter and shorter attention spans of people (kids especially) these days, though. While things are moving faster and yes, we have to fit more in while still providing time for them to gain a deeper understanding of content, I'm afraid that students are starting to think that if it's not speedy, it's not worth it.
This sounded more coherent and "whole" in my head and I'm not getting out all that I intended, but duty (aka work) calls.
Good luck with your endeavor today - I know you're trying it again!

James Gill said...

My point is not to teach less, or to cater to shorter attention spans. It is to do less monologue, and more dialogue. If I talk less, I have to ask students questions and try to get them to fill in blanks. I have to pause, think longer before I speak, and then see if I can get my students to do the same.

Michal said...

I like that: less monologue, more dialogue. That's definitely something I can get (and am!) behind.
I love the point on pausing to think before speaking: I think a lot of people (myself included) could benefit from that exercise...especially in a society that seems to exalt speed over all else.
P.S. Reading over what I wrote, I hope you didn't think I was saying that you, specifically, were catering to shorter attention spans - I meant that in a general sense.
Thanks for your thoughts, James.

frazzled bedazzled take 2 said...

I like it. I tried this in a class of Years 9's during a lesson on human rights, it was powerful!