As educators, it’s easy to bemoan and criticize the trend of short attention spans in the digital generation. As a language teacher, for example, it’s like pulling teeth to coax students students unwilling to perform repetitious drilling.
Memorization and rote learning, of course, gets a bad rap. For years repetition has been deemed an inadequate teaching technique.
However, memorization is still a highly valuable teaching and study practice. Some examples are typing, playing the piano, and learning an alphabet, a language, or the multiplication tables. None of these skills could be learned without the use of repetition, memorization, and “rote learning”.
In learning a language, repetition is essential. After all, a new word often isn’t registered into the brain until it’s been repeated about 15 times.
We educators need to respond to changing times in a proactive way. We can’t go back in time or change students’ behaviors. Instead, it’s time to take the efforts to adapt the multimedia, quick-paced digital generation.
Blended learning techniques involving audio and visual tools are an absolute must. A learning management system (LMS) is one big tool that offers many possibilities for educators and subject matter experts interested in designing a dynamic course that caters to our tech-savvy youth.
However, even if you don’t use an LMS or incorporate online learning into your classroom, you can still tap into the audio and visual pedagogical tools on your own. Make a podcast that students can listen to on their ride home, or on their way to work. Create a video of your classroom, encouraging students to participate.
There are many ways, using an LMS or not, to adapt to the digital generation’s ways, rather than simply lamenting them.
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