Update & Developing ‘Unitasking’

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Reclaiming Conversation - The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle

This week I’ve been reading Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. In it she makes a strong case for what she calls ‘unitasking’ – the rejection of the idea that it’s better or more efficient to work on multiple things at once, and instead just to concentrate on a single task or idea. In the book, Turkle observes and interviews students and teachers at educational institutions across America. The students she sees are very often constantly online, in communication with one another by text / WhatsApp etc, sharing snippets of their lives through various social media channels, and with a vast array of information literally at their fingertips.

What she find out, though, is that the ever-present device DOES NOT enhance students’ ability to learn, and in fact the barrage of information to which they are persistently subjected is actually an impediment to their concentration and critical thinking.

There are two strands of difficulty presented by education by Google: 1) that a student needs to be able to discern valuable data / information from a vast amount of ‘white noise’, and 2) that everyone needs time and space to be able to make sense of the things that they have read / watched / been told. Part of studying is about building a coherent narrative or road map of a given subject, and the process of developing this takes both the ability to slow down and properly digest relevant content, and then to have the time and space to think about it, play around with ideas, make new connections from one concept to another etc.

The good news: playing / singing music can be an excellent way to work on this approach, especially when you attend to your musical learning with the same attitude. And, I continue to endeavour to approach my teaching in a way that fosters the right atmosphere for my students and for myself – taking our time over things, giving even the smallest details the attention that they deserve, never rushing from one task to another, and managing the available lesson time so that we make steady but firm steps forward.

Available lesson slots for the week ahead

Following is the list of free spaces for lessons in the coming week. Drop me a text on 07746637472 if you would like to book any of them for yourself or your child.

  • Monday 21st June
    • 11:15
    • 17:00
  • Friday 25th June
    • 16:00

Please also note that lessons will be online Zoom-based only from 1st to 16th July.

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