TeachingEnglish
Multitasking - inspired by Jeremy Harmer

In his blog Jeremy Harmer reflected on multitasking and its possible consequences for teachers and learners (see it here: http://jeremyharmer.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/mult-tasking-unitasking-myths-and-langauge-learning/). I also want to ponder upon the subject.I have to say that multitasking is part of my life. Some people say that women are born to do several tasks at the same time. Not very accurately, my husband complains, but there are tangible results, I say. When University student I managed to dot down a lecture and do my English or Spanish homework at the same time. I like doing household chores and listening to podcasts or audiobooks. When I do some mechanical work on the computer as editing or making reports, I also like listening or watching webinars.I think, contemporary students are also used to doing several tasks simultaneously. They watch TV and do homework, they play games and chat, they read books and listen to music. Some scientists say it's just constant switching from one thing to another (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEcNX92kHhE). That's why, to my mind, they ecome itchy at the lessons when they only have to listen to the teacher. Their concentraition span is shorter and their brain is accostomed to being busy all the time.What do you think of multitasking? 

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lemanulas's picture
lemanulas

Dear bogolepovasv, I agree with you,,when the Ss just listen to teacher,,,lesson might be boring,too and their concentration is very limited..I always do the same,,,I love reading book while listening music..It is my habit...very nice point..thanks for your sharing;)

Anna_Leshchenko's picture
Anna_Leshchenko

"When University student I managed to dot down a lecture and do my English or Spanish homework at the same time. I like doing household chores and listening to podcasts or audiobooks. When I do some mechanical work on the computer as editing or making reports, I also like listening or watching webinars." Haha, I did and I do the same. You know now I am learning to do one thing at a time (http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/One-minfully.pdf). I am all for stopping multitasking... I am used to watch at least one US TV series a day and while the series is in the small window in the bottom left-hand corner of my pc screen, I am preparing handouts for my students. Well, people keep asking me how I manage to do so many things... But I realised that without watching my fave TV show I work more efficiently and faster with my handouts... the fact when you really need to focus on one task and your brain is used to doing many things at a time, it is not that easy... most of psychologists write about the necessity to simplify our life. And you know, I've posted a very similar idea about the concentrating span here: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/annaleshchenko/digitally-rewired-teens#comment-24536 (concerning TV commercials) But you might have already seen that as you've also commented there. I suppose we need to plan all our lessons with constant changes in activities...

bogolepovasv's picture
bogolepovasv

I think, we multitask because it saves time. You spend less time doing two things together than if you did them separately. But if there is some demanding thing to do, such as composing an article, I never do anything else simultaneosly.I can't imagine how I can get away from multitasking. My husband often scolds me, because I cook soup, play with my child and read at the same time. But if I did the things one after the other, I wouldn't be able to do half of what I want!I agree about constant change of activities at the lesson. I can't be sure about what causes it, but the attentioan span of modern students is rather short. Also, they need stimulating activities. They won't just listen to their teacher.