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Concentration When Pupil Uses Playstations/tv A Lot


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#1 harmony2

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 11:28

I've been teaching for over twenty years now and just wondered if other teachers were noticing this too. In the past few years I have increasing problems with some pupils' inability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time - they are usually the ones who do little or no practice between lessons. 9 times out of 10, if I ask how much television they watch, and whether or not they have a 'games console', they suddenly become very animated and talk about their latest game/episode of Dr.Who etc. 3 hours plus a day seems to be the norm spent at these activities. If I suggest that their flute/piano playing would improve rapidly if they took just 30 minutes out of this time for practice you'd think I was asking them to cut a finger off!

Has anyone had similar experiences? sad.gif
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#2 nic

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 12:38

I think that posture is getting worse as a result of this! (All my students know what I mean when I remind them that they have slipped back into 'playstation posture'!) unsure.gif tongue.gif

I do have one young boy who watches 4 hours of tv a day ( 2 of those before school) blink.gif and of course, plays computer games as well. He never did any practice when I first inherited him, but I have found that he is extremely motivated by performing at concerts, so eventually told him that he wouldn't be allowed to play if he didn't practice (which seems incredibly cruel, but it worked!)

He also seemed to understand the point of practice a little better when I asked if a juggler would perform without practising laugh.gif .... Apologies for moving slightly offTopic.gif
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#3 Hammerklavier

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 12:45

I think one of the problems with computer games and the TV in general is that it stimulates different parts of the brain.

Although to operate a computer game, one needs a degree of coordination as one does with an instrument, I would imagine that there is far more to be concerned about when playing a musical instrument than when a computer game is played.

Also, these games are often fantasy based which seem to stimulate children's imagination more but I think it is superficial where as music isn't.

Learning to play an instrument and to therefore aquire a knowledge of music and style etc is something that a lifetime can be spent on where as with a game you finish one and it's on to the next one.

I think it is rather concerning the amount of TV and computers children seem to be allowed to indulge in these days although what I have said is very general and there are parents out there who regulate this quite effectively.
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#4 Rosemary7391

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:18

I've never really watched much TV (despite people being shocked at my lack of knowledge of the latest soap dramas rolleyes.gif ) and I find it quite easy to cope with concentrating for as long as I need to, especially on something as interesting as clarinet, when its usually my lip/thumb giving out that makes me stop! I can't believe how much time people spend passively sitting watching something - for me I can't cope with that, I struggle with a decent length film. I guess its just a matter of what you are used to concentrating on.
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#5 flute fanatic

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:22

I usually practise before watching tv. etc., this way the t.v. is a reward for my efforts in bothering to have a practise. smile.gif

I think there has to be a limit on how much t.v. a child is exposed to. duh.gif
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#6 sarah-flute

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:24

I'd rather practise than watch (most) TV.... unsure.gif
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#7 AmandaL

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:24

I think it also highlights just how short their general attention span is - as far as interest in one thing is concerned. I'm not suggesting that anyone, regardless of age, should only have one line of interest or pattern of thought, but children are surrounded by more choice than there are hours in the day to fit the activities in.

It would seem that more children do have trouble in concentrating and working hard on things that need consistent regular attention. This includes a musical instrument and in some cases their schoolwork too.

I get the regular throughput of school age violin pupils who learn the violin for a few weeks, but then find it's harder than they thought and suddenly decide that maybe they'll take up karate or ballet instead - thinking these might be easier.

Whether you think this demonstrates a wider flippant nature of society these days or not, is a matter of opinion. Personally I think a lot of kids are offered too much. Their whims are pandied to and this makes them adopt an easy-come-easy-go attitude, flitting from one activity to another with regular abandon.

I agree that parents should be more regulatory in what and how much TV their children watch and limit their use of computers too. I for one don't think it is a good idea that children have a television in their bedroom. glare.gif
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#8 sbhoa

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:30

Two things that serious game players don't lack are concentration and the ability to work on things.
A lot of the games take time to play and sometimes need a lot of repetition to 'practice' the right moves so that they can get past various levels of play.
If you can channel that into musci practice you are on a winner.
This is covered on the Practice spot website.
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#9 AmandaL

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:53

QUOTE(sbhoa @ Apr 29 2007, 02:30 PM) View Post
Two things that serious game players don't lack are concentration and the ability to work on things. A lot of the games take time to play and sometimes need a lot of repetition to 'practice' the right moves so that they can get past various levels of play.
For 'gaming' children or teenagers, it's usually a case of them competing against each other. They all want to be first to the 'next level', so there's a huge incentive to practice and play for hours on end.

With a musical instrument there isn't necessarily that level of competitiveness, because few of their peers play instruments.

I know it's rumoured that Joshua Bell is very good at console computer games, attributed to excellent hand-eye co-ordination playing the violin. But, maybe he's just good at computer games because he spends quite a lot of time playing them too?
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#10 Hammerklavier

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 13:54

QUOTE(sarah-flute @ Apr 29 2007, 01:24 PM) View Post

I'd rather practise than watch (most) TV.... unsure.gif


I absolutely agree with you on that one!!
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#11 Cyrilla

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 14:28

QUOTE(AmandaL @ Apr 29 2007, 02:24 PM) View Post

I think it also highlights just how short their general attention span is - as far as interest in one thing is concerned. I'm not suggesting that anyone, regardless of age, should only have one line of interest or pattern of thought, but children are surrounded by more choice than there are hours in the day to fit the activities in.

It would seem that more children do have trouble in concentrating and working hard on things that need consistent regular attention. This includes a musical instrument and in some cases their schoolwork too.

I get the regular throughput of school age violin pupils who learn the violin for a few weeks, but then find it's harder than they thought and suddenly decide that maybe they'll take up karate or ballet instead - thinking these might be easier.

Whether you think this demonstrates a wider flippant nature of society these days or not, is a matter of opinion. Personally I think a lot of kids are offered too much. Their whims are pandied to and this makes them adopt an easy-come-easy-go attitude, flitting from one activity to another with regular abandon.

I agree that parents should be more regulatory in what and how much TV their children watch and limit their use of computers too. I for one don't think it is a good idea that children have a television in their bedroom. glare.gif


I SOOOOOOOO agree, Amanda. I find this with school choir - children seem to think that they can flit in and out when they feel like it. Last week I had three just not turn up - when I tackled them about it it was a shrug of the shoulders and an 'Oh, I quit' (how I HATE that 'throwaway' word mad.gif ). When I said, 'What would happen if the choir turned up for rehearsal and I wasn't there because I had decided to 'quit'? They looked a bit surprised at the thought and one said, 'Oh, I hadn't thought of it like that'. dry.gif The teachers who run chess club and cross-country club tell me they have exactly the same problem. When I spoke to the deputy head about it she said that the head is so keen on having as many clubs as possible that the children are overloaded with choices and end up flitting from one to the other. The 'c' word (commitment) seems to be unknown to many...

This is the case with out-of-school activities too. It is rare for children of primary age at least not to have at least one activity every night after school. This has two main effects as I see it - 1) children expect to be entertained the whole time. They end up with the concentration span of a peanut and find it extremely difficult to tackle anything which requires sustained effort, work or concentration. 2) these activities are taken for granted as is the ease with which one can be given up and another takes its place (until the novelty of the new activity wears off and the whole cycle starts all over again).

It does appear that, both in school lessons and after-school activities, anything that requires a modicum of commitment or effort is deemed 'boring'. Things of quality just don't seem to be valued any more sad.gif .

Sorry, Grumpy Old Woman rant over.

smile.gif
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#12 Rosemary7391

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 14:36

QUOTE(Cyrilla @ Apr 29 2007, 03:28 PM) View Post

QUOTE(AmandaL @ Apr 29 2007, 02:24 PM) View Post

I think it also highlights just how short their general attention span is - as far as interest in one thing is concerned. I'm not suggesting that anyone, regardless of age, should only have one line of interest or pattern of thought, but children are surrounded by more choice than there are hours in the day to fit the activities in.

It would seem that more children do have trouble in concentrating and working hard on things that need consistent regular attention. This includes a musical instrument and in some cases their schoolwork too.

I get the regular throughput of school age violin pupils who learn the violin for a few weeks, but then find it's harder than they thought and suddenly decide that maybe they'll take up karate or ballet instead - thinking these might be easier.

Whether you think this demonstrates a wider flippant nature of society these days or not, is a matter of opinion. Personally I think a lot of kids are offered too much. Their whims are pandied to and this makes them adopt an easy-come-easy-go attitude, flitting from one activity to another with regular abandon.

I agree that parents should be more regulatory in what and how much TV their children watch and limit their use of computers too. I for one don't think it is a good idea that children have a television in their bedroom. glare.gif


I SOOOOOOOO agree, Amanda. I find this with school choir - children seem to think that they can flit in and out when they feel like it. Last week I had three just not turn up - when I tackled them about it it was a shrug of the shoulders and an 'Oh, I quit' (how I HATE that 'throwaway' word mad.gif ). When I said, 'What would happen if the choir turned up for rehearsal and I wasn't there because I had decided to 'quit'? They looked a bit surprised at the thought and one said, 'Oh, I hadn't thought of it like that'. dry.gif The teachers who run chess club and cross-country club tell me they have exactly the same problem. When I spoke to the deputy head about it she said that the head is so keen on having as many clubs as possible that the children are overloaded with choices and end up flitting from one to the other. The 'c' word (commitment) seems to be unknown to many...

This is the case with out-of-school activities too. It is rare for children of primary age at least not to have at least one activity every night after school. This has two main effects as I see it - 1) children expect to be entertained the whole time. They end up with the concentration span of a peanut and find it extremely difficult to tackle anything which requires sustained effort, work or concentration. 2) these activities are taken for granted as is the ease with which one can be given up and another takes its place (until the novelty of the new activity wears off and the whole cycle starts all over again).

It does appear that, both in school lessons and after-school activities, anything that requires a modicum of commitment or effort is deemed 'boring'. Things of quality just don't seem to be valued any more sad.gif .

Sorry, Grumpy Old Woman rant over.

smile.gif


I hope thats not a grumpy old woman rant, because I agree with it!! To me its just common sense/politeness, if you say you will do something, you do it, whether you like it or not. Its certainly not fair to run off without warning! I don't think the way a lot of lessons are structured help, they always seem to pander to the slowest/least bothered in the class, and then praise gets showered on everyone regardless of how much they have actually done compared to what they are capable of. In that way kids (myself included) get used to doing minimal amounts of work and gaining good grades for it, and heaven forbid anyone giving them a challenge because they just can't cope....
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#13 Cyrilla

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 14:44

Aw, Rosemary, welcome to my Grumpy Old Woman Club (as an honorary member, of course, given your age! tongue.gif ).

Re the choir - this is a new one but at my last school I had a contract system - once the children had attended two or three sessions on a 'try-out' basis they and their parents signed an agreement that they would stay for the year. It was rare that I had to remind any of them of their obligations but I did fall back on it from time to time (usually in the summer term when it was much nicer to be playing in the sun that doing choir indoors dry.gif ). What really infuriated me was two weeks before a major concert that someone would announce that 'they quit' mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif .

And your last sentence just backs up suspicions I've had for a long time... sad.gif
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#14 oboist

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 15:59

QUOTE(Cyrilla @ Apr 29 2007, 02:28 PM) View Post


I SOOOOOOOO agree, Amanda. I find this with school choir - children seem to think that they can flit in and out when they feel like it. Last week I had three just not turn up - when I tackled them about it it was a shrug of the shoulders and an 'Oh, I quit' (how I HATE that 'throwaway' word mad.gif ). When I said, 'What would happen if the choir turned up for rehearsal and I wasn't there because I had decided to 'quit'? They looked a bit surprised at the thought and one said, 'Oh, I hadn't thought of it like that'. dry.gif The teachers who run chess club and cross-country club tell me they have exactly the same problem. When I spoke to the deputy head about it she said that the head is so keen on having as many clubs as possible that the children are overloaded with choices and end up flitting from one to the other. The 'c' word (commitment) seems to be unknown to many...

This is the case with out-of-school activities too. It is rare for children of primary age at least not to have at least one activity every night after school. This has two main effects as I see it - 1) children expect to be entertained the whole time. They end up with the concentration span of a peanut and find it extremely difficult to tackle anything which requires sustained effort, work or concentration. 2) these activities are taken for granted as is the ease with which one can be given up and another takes its place (until the novelty of the new activity wears off and the whole cycle starts all over again).

It does appear that, both in school lessons and after-school activities, anything that requires a modicum of commitment or effort is deemed 'boring'. Things of quality just don't seem to be valued any more sad.gif .

Sorry, Grumpy Old Woman rant over.

smile.gif


Well, I'm a GOW too then! I'd totally agree with all that's been written so far, especially about commitment. I see it as a problem in all walks of life and most of my pupils find five minutes concentration an effort.

When I was fixing up my timetable for this year, one mother returned her options form and ticked just one half hour slot when her "treasure" could come for a lesson. So I rang her back and asked for some more times so I could slot him in to fit with others. "Oh," she said, "there aren't any. It's the half hour I gave you or nothing because he's so busy." When I politely enquired as to when he'd do his practise if he was that busy, she became agitated and said she didn't know. Did she want to stop the lessons then because he didn't have time? No, not a bit. Small wonder he looks like a ghost and half-asleep most of the time.

I sometimes really despair of the world we live in and the manic way we are raising the new generation. I am quite sure we're not designed and/or programmed to work at this level. unsure.gif

GOW rant over......
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#15 Aquarelle

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 16:42

Oh dear ! Can I join the GOW club too ?
I have tried and tried not to moan about the next generation. I have told myself repeatedly that every generation moans about the next and we should stop it but….
Concentration, motivation and commitment are endangered species, there is no doubt. I have met the same problems – children doing too many activities; not coming to recorder groups, not even bothering to come and collect their exam certificates on “presentation day” and parents giving me ultimatums about lesson times when I have asked for at least two alternatives and looking wide eyed with surprise when I say that I have 39 others to accommodate as well.
On the other hand I must admit I haven’t yet had computer game or television addicts to cope with. I actually even have two families who have refused to have television in the house. My pupils’ concentration problems seem to be caused by overloaded school programmes, and an excessively long school day. There is also, in schools, far too much concentration on “short term memory learning” - get it into your head quickly, churn it out in tomorrow’s test and then forget it. It doesn’t help when learning an instrument needs long term learning and patiently built up skills.
Well, now I’ve had my GOW moan – but let’s pat ourselves on the back for the positive flags we’re waving in resisting all this!


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