Sunday, October 4, 2015

Teaching and texting

In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sherry Turkle writes about “How to Teach in an Age of Distraction.” She begins with an account of teaching a twenty-student seminar at MIT devoted to reading and writing memoirs:

The students seemed to understand each other, to find a rhythm. I thought the class was working.

Then, halfway through the semester, a group of students asked to see me. They admitted to texting during class, but they felt bad about it because of the personal material being discussed. They said they text in all their classes, but here it seemed wrong. We decided the class should talk about this as a group. In that discussion, more students admitted that they, too, texted in class. They portrayed constant connection as a necessity. For some, three minutes was too long to go without checking their phones.
So “a group” of students are texting, and then it turns out that still “more students” are texting. My question — and it’s a genuine question, not a bit of snark: how is it possible to teach a class of twenty students (a seminar, no less) and not realize that many of those students are texting?

The Chronicle has Turkle’s essay behind its paywall, but you can read an excerpt here.


8:35 p.m.: The essay is online for all, at least for now.

Related reading
More posts about attention and distraction (Pinboard)

comments: 0