Battle of Concepts

Have you ever thought of the usage of ‘attention span’ and ‘shortening attention span’?

An analysis was come up with as regards the usage of attention span. When we speak of attention span, we naturally express bias towards our preferences. For example, a bookworm will be bias towards reading, the same way an IT guru will be biased towards IT. Let me explain with a story.

There used to be a professor who used to go on and on about how idiotic video games are. He used to talk about how his son would play video games throughout the day and he sometimes would go join him but found it boring after just a few minutes. If this was reversed and the boy spoke about how his father would study throughout the day but found it completely boring after a few minutes, we would accuse the boy of having short attention span. Wouldn’t we?

Why don’t we accuse the professor of having short attention span? You would most likely think it’s because playing video games was not interesting for him. Well, what if reading wasn’t interesting for the son? The son spends hours playing video games without getting bored so, he definitely doesn’t have short attention span. Just like any other human, he will give attention to anything that interests him.

Is this usage of attention and attention span not wrong? It should be a discussion of interest and not attention. Even if this boy was forced to be in a class, he still won’t pay attention as long as he isn’t interested. Just like you can force a horse to water but can’t force it to drink, you can force a child to school but can’t force him to learn. Realize however that you can put salt in that horse’s hay and make it thirsty the same way you can bait your child and make him interested.

Do you still think your child has a short attention span? Or does he/she simply have no interest in school?

Written by: Talha Olajobi

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