Engagement and Habit Formation in the Classroom

Jotham Kingston
2019 TEACH journal of christian education  
How can teachers increase the effectiveness of their classroom practice, so that not only are ideas transferred (Perkins & Salomon, 1988) , but so that students become people who shape their future and make the world a better place? This is an important question that refocuses the purpose of education and takes attention away from curriculum and outcomes to issues that have been seen as peripheral to education, such as 'learning readiness' (Schindler, 1948) . The ludicrousness of the unspoken
more » ... sumption that many students will simply 'suck up lessons' like a vacuum cleaner as they are presented, is thrown into stark relief. Consequently, this paper looks at two associated topics that rarely seem to gain prominence in discussion of pedagogy: a) How to gain and maintain attention and b) How to make and break habits. It goes without saying that a lack of student attention results in poor learning. Furthermore, as many skills and thought processes are automated and habituated, rather than conscious, it is highly important for teachers to understand how to make and break habits. Recent advances in neuroscience are impacting many industries, and education is no exception. How can advances in neuroscience advance our understanding of attention, and habits? This paper is divided into two sections. In the first the author looks at the psychology and neurophysiology of attention, and discusses some implications for practice. In the second section the author examines the psychology and neurophysiology of habituation along with some implications. Attention A study of attention is important for teachers because, as Bunce, Flenz and Neiles (2010) say, "A common experience among teachers is that students do not pay attention" (p. 1438). It is implied, of course, that attention is a necessary ingredient
doi:10.55254/1835-1492.1411 fatcat:ujgkvoogu5gfdmksbtpm2e5u3y