Title: Helping Students Learn to Overcome Distraction
Summary: Distraction has always posed a problem for students, but surveys show there is a strong sense among teachers that the problem has gotten worse in the last fifteen years. In particular, teachers feel that digital technologies, with their frenetic pace and tendency to yank attention here and there, have made it more difficult for students to focus. In this talk, I’ll discuss some of the research behind the workings of attention, and I’ll offer a different interpretation. It’s not that students can’t pay attention, but that they are less willing to do so. Most important, I’ll offer some strategies that teachers can tell students about that will help them stay on task.
Daniel Willingham was awarded his B.A in Psychology from Duke University in 1983, he then earned his Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University in 1990. In 1992, he began teaching at the University of Virginia, with a research focus on brain functions that support learning and the different structures and forms of memory and their interaction. In 2000, his focus changed to how he could apply this knowledge to make schooling more effective for children worldwide. He is currently Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Virginia’s Psychology Department.
Since 2002 Daniel has written a column for the American Educator called “Ask The Cognitive Scientist”, fielding questions from the wider American education world. His writing also regularly appears in such publications as the Scientific American and The New York Times. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and of the Association for Psychological Science. He sits on the World Bank’s International Advisory Board for K-12 Curriculum Reform in Vietnam, and MIT’s Advisory Committee: Learning and the Brain.
Aside from recognition from the Oval Office for his superb contribution to American education, Daniel is also the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, including the Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award (2017), The Translation Award from the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (2014), and the All-University Teaching Award (2011,1999) and Outstanding Professor Award (2011).
He has written hundreds of articles, and several critically acclaimed, best-selling books that have been translated into over 17 languages, featuring on shelves across the globe.