Adventures of a Homebody #1 - UBC Operation Smile Club
January 18, 2015
Let's face it: Facebook stalking has pretty much become normal.
One simply needs a handful of minutes to blow, a mild curiosity, and a reasonable excu...
Don't be an online Costco Sample (featured in the Richmond News)
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Adventures of a Homebody #2: Cafe Deux Soliels
January 26, 2015
Texting in Class Fractures Focus (featured in the Richmond News)
December 13, 2013
Texting in class fractures focus
Imagine for a moment a scene in which a father is building Lego castles with his little boy.
The two of them sit on the carpet as the man constructs the foundation. Excitedly, he adds a few colourful layers, placing one piece on top of another.
He wants to impress his son; show him what can be created with a few simple blocks and a bit of imagination.
But imagine ... right before the towers begin to form an impressive shape, that the baby reaches out in impatient boredom and smashes the beginnings of the castle so that all the blocks scatter across the floor and the remaining structure is reduced to rubble.
They're back to square one.
Now, imagine a classroom filled with students. They each have cell phones in their pockets.
The teacher is giving a lecture made up of simple points that carefully piece together to form a big picture.
It's not kindergarten anymore.
The simple points require attention, engagement, some element of critical thinking and analysis to be fully understood. The teacher pauses to let the information sink in, and a few students see a window of opportunity to check whether they have any notifications or messages.
Ten minutes later the phones are out again.
Sure, it's just a quick sentence. Sure, they can catch up with the notes later.
But three months later, will that message they couldn't wait 30 minutes to send mean anything in the grand scheme of their futures? Probably not. So, maybe it's an exaggerated comparison, but as a student who has, on occasion, been guilty of taking out her phone in the middle of class, I have to admit that I don't remember the classes I texted in half as well as the ones I gave my complete attention to.
I know the excuses and the desperate justifications I tell myself by heart.
Yes, it's true that the Internet is a key to instant unlimited information, and it's true that maybe one day there will be a giant earthquake in which my family will be wrenched apart, in which case my phone would be the only tool by which I would then be able to communicate with them.
But seriously now. Really? Texting in class used to be something scandalous, something the rebellious kids did.
Yet, somewhere along the line it's developed into an undeniable right all students inherit the moment they walk into a classroom.
"Teach me, teacher. Tell me something entertaining. If you get boring, I'll just tune you out."
Whether we like it or not, this is the message students send teachers every single time they take out their phones.
It's disrespectful and it's not fair.
Learning requires the expertise of the teacher AND the active participation and desire to learn from the student.
It is not often an exhilarating and fantastical experience, but the skills one learns by paying attention anyway and focusing, the questions one finds when one takes the time to silently wonder ... those are the simple blocks that are needed, to, piece by piece, build a castle.