Monday, March 21, 2011

The Tipping Point and minds shutting down

 The following 2 paragraphs are from Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point’. They do explain a little on why children shut down.

                “If you take these two studies together – the toys study and the editing study- you reach quite a radical conclusion about children and television. Kids don’t watch when they are stimulated and look away when they are bored. They watch when they understand and look away when they are confused. If you are in the business of educational television, this is a critical difference. It means if you want to know whether – and what – kids are learning from a TV show, all you have to do is notice what they are watching. Preschoolers are so sophisticated in their viewing behaviour that you can determine the stickiness of children’s programming by simple observation.”
                                                                                                                                    Pg. 102

            “‘We found to our surprise that our preschool audience didn’t like it when the adult cast got into a contentious discussion,’ he remembers. ‘They didn’t like it when two or three people would be talking at once. That’s the producer’s natural instinct, to hype a scene by creating confusion. It’s supposed to tell you that this is exciting. The fact is that our kids turned away from that kind of situation. Instead of picking up on the signal that something exciting is going on, they picked up on the signal that something confusing is going on. And they’d lose interest.”
                                                                                                                                    Pg. 104

The above two paragraphs are written after having been properly researched and seem to say what I have personally seen in my dyslexic students and written in my article on “Unlearn”. That is, children do turn away when they do not understand – when what they hear or read is not logical to them they turn away (shut down). When something is confusing they lose interest.

To learn more on this read Malcolm’s book “The Tipping Point” chapter 3 – The stickiness factor. 
Malcolm Gladwell's books are thought provoking. I would highly recommend his books to one and all.

You may also want to read the book "Men of massachusettes" where Anderson who was the pioneer of Sesame Street says "...if the kids could not make sense  of the pictures on the screen  they simply tuned out the programme or walked off." 

Write to me on any personal observations you may have made on your child shutting down.


Sarah Cox said...

That makes total sense. I certainly do observe that in my own son during homework time. When I am trying to explain something to him that he finds difficult he stops paying attention. Very common with my students as well. It is a good cue that you have to change the way you are presenting the information.

Luqman Michel said...

Fantastic observation. I hope more teachers will share their views on this very important matter.
Yes, changing the way of presenting the information is all important when a child shuts down.
Talk to other teachers to see what they have to say and write to me.Specific examples will be welcome.