Essays in Education


Some students try to convert the classroom into a place where they can employ a kind of attention that enabled them to succeed elsewhere, but this kind of attention often works against learning. This article offers a model for conceptualizing why some students are difficult to teach by describing several “channels of attention” that students may arrive in class “tuned to”--the social, consumer, personality, entertainment, and street channels. This model provides a simpler way of responding to some student differences than those offered in theories on learning styles or cultural styles, and it points to the importance of training students to tune in to the "Educational Channel" that enables them to succeed in a given class. Implicit in the model is a concept of academic disengagement that is active, in contrast to the passive form usually described.

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