Stop Trying to Solve Problems

This is a title of an article in the current Psychology Today  and I am a little surprised by it. You might agree with me that it does seem a little unconventional, and bombastic for a title. The article claims, based on a psychological study that if we are a little distracted from a problem and then return to that problem later, our minds are more prepared to solve it than if we grit our teeth and concentrate harder and work to solve it.

That is a breath of fresh air for me, since distraction comes easily for me. The article practically legitimizes my “bad” habit. Or does it?

What is interesting is even if we are distracted for a brief moment, our unconscious neural processing kicks in and works on the problem in our moment of distraction.

How can this be applied to a teaching situation I wonder? How can language learners benefit from this? One way is to shift the routine of your classes and ensure that the students have  variety of activities rather than stick to one pattern.

Also, shift from a difficult task then have a brief distraction then return to the task later. That may be confusing for students, unless the distraction seems connected with the main task.

What it does confirm is that slight tangents in the teaching process are fine. A story, a joke, even small talk may be necessary for students to process what they are learning. If your classes are a “data dump” of knowledge, a brief distraction may be what your class needs.

Click the link below and see. Many thanks to David Paul for posting this link.

Stop Trying to Solve Problems.

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