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Learning and distraction.key

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This is a draft of a presentation meant to help students understand why concentration is important for learning philosophy and why distraction from various sources (including internet, cell phones, …

This is a draft of a presentation meant to help students understand why concentration is important for learning philosophy and why distraction from various sources (including internet, cell phones, etc.) harm learning and meaningful experience.

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  • This is a draft of a presentation meant to help students understand why concentration is important for learning philosophy and why distraction from various sources (including internet, cell phones, etc.) harm learning and meaningful experience.
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Transcript

  • 1. Learning and Distraction Learning to learn in an age of texting, smart phones, Facebook, and a million other distractions
  • 2. OutlineExperience: Meaningful vs. TrivialProducts of ExperienceCharacter or the contribution of conductPhilosophy and Meaningful ExperienceUnderstanding PhilosophyDistraction: Sources and Dangers
  • 3. Meaningful ExperiencesWhat are meaningful experiences like?
  • 4. Meaningful Experiences are... They are absorbing and intense:• Pull us in, body and soul --demand all our attention• We lose track of time, where we are, or even who were with in these experiences.
  • 5. Examples of meaningful (absorbing/intense) experiences?• Great book, concert, movie, e.g.• Conversation about something that really matters.• The search and discovery of something which has puzzled us. (The “Eureka” moment in science.)• Playing a musical instrument--being “in the zone.”• Teaching a friend how to snowboard.
  • 6. Meaning accumulates...At the end of the experience... • We look back on what just happened and are amazed. Were proud of how we spent our time. • Were proud of how we spent our time.
  • 7. How can you tell?• How can you tell if youve been having a meaningful experience? Thoughts? Examples?
  • 8. How to tell you’ve been having a meaningful experience• When were distracted during such experiences, were often stunned or even angry at the interruption.• Something important has been taken from us!
  • 9. Cumulative Products ofmeaningful experience?Name some outcomes or products of meaningful experiences?
  • 10. Meaningful products...• Friendship and love.• Family bonds.• Creative, athletic, or artistic talents.• Critical and scientific sharpness of mind.• Sense of aesthetic taste or appreciation-- heightened sensitivities.• Richer, more complex values.
  • 11. Now we breathe...
  • 12. What about “trivial experiences”? What are they like?
  • 13. Trivial experiences• Dont absorb us or are very faint.• We cannot remember them the next day.• We feel we "wasted" our time -- on later reflection, we believe we could have done something more valuable.• Nothing accumulates from the experience. We dont learn anything or grow from the experience.
  • 14. Reviewing: Meaningful Experiences Trivial experiences• are absorbing and intense: • dont absorb; are very faint. we invest all our attention • are not memorable; feel• accumulate—we learn and like a "waste" of our time grow from the experience. • nothing accumulates—• are marked by our desire dont learn or grow not to be interrupted; our focus on their importance• Product examples: friendship, love, skills and talents, intellect, sensitivity, values
  • 15. Again, breathing...
  • 16. CharacterWhat kinds of character traits might aperson need to recognize the differencebetween the meaningful and trivial?
  • 17. Character, cont’d.Patience/Perseverance--the ability todelay or denypleasure andgratification; to“stick with it.” Reverence-- for the values which matter the most.
  • 18. Character, cont’d.Courage--to turn away Intellectual acumen--tofrom experiences or discriminate betweenpeople we judge meaningful and trivialunworthy. experiences.
  • 19. Philosophy and Meaningful ExperiencesPhilosophy investigates topics which bear on the living ofa meaningful life:• What is justice?• Can God’s existence be proved—and why try?• What causes human loneliness?• How can we tell right from wrong?• What’s the difference between knowledge & opinion?
  • 20. Philosophical Topics• Topics can...• be difficult--unusual, complex, or abstract• accumulate into systems or world-views • To grasp another persons world view often requires that we allow it to unfold and that we set our own expectations aside. We must allow it to inhabit us.
  • 21. Philosophical Topics• Topics can...• seem impractical-- • but typically, these topics have been important for many hundreds of years.• Topics can challenge, emotionally-- • we can find ourselves cringing or squirming about some topics, but it is important to push past these initial reactions.
  • 22. Again, breathing...
  • 23. Principle of Charity• #1 hint for learning philosophy: • Read or listen to the person or text and give it the maximum amount of credit. • Train yourself to suspend judgment and be able to carefully re-state the point being made. • Unless you do these things first, you have no good grounds for criticizing the argument.
  • 24. Reviewing: Character traits important for philosophy:• Patience/temperance• Reverence• Courage• Discrimination Philosophys topics:• complex, abstract, systemic• seem impractical but actually central to human self understanding
  • 25. Reviewing: #1 hint for learning philosophy: First Detach• Suspend judgment,• Give author maximum initial credit,• Learn the argument
  • 26. Warnings: Distraction
  • 27. “Distraction” is...In distraction there is a• loss of attention or focus• dividing of attention or focusIn either case the central focus• is lost or diminished by something unrelated.
  • 28. What about “multi-tasking”?
  • 29. What are some ways we “multi-task”?What causes self-distraction? Examples?
  • 30. Deeper question:Where does our modern need to be so distractedcome from?• Why are we bored?• Why are we anxious?• Why do we need constant contact? • Are we worried about nuclear war or did we not get enough love from our mothers?
  • 31. Breathing......
  • 32. But isn’t multi-tasking really effective? Not very.
  • 33. Science on multitasking: Recent brain science shows:• we are not wired to multitask• people who appear good at multitasking • actually have good working memories and • use them to pay attention to one input at a time. Studies show that a person interrupted • takes 50% longer to accomplish a task and also • makes up to 50% more errors. Source: John Medina, *Brain Rules*, page 87.
  • 34. Multi-taskers are deluded Clifford I. Nass, professor of psychology, Stanford U. :• "Heavy multitaskers are often extremely confident in their abilities…but theres evidence that those people are actually worse at multitasking than most people."• Evidence: 2009 study finding that self-described multitaskers performed much worse on cognitive and memory tasks that involved distraction than those who prefer to focus on single tasks. Source: http://chronicle.com/article/Scholars-Turn-Their-Attention/63746/
  • 35. Sources of self-distraction:• Some sources of self- distraction: • Cell phone • Internet surfing • TV or radio or music player • Anxiety, fear, ambivalence
  • 36. Multitasking harms attention which diminishes working memory• "Why is it that some people seem to reason well and others dont?• Part of the reason...is that higher-working-memory- capacity people are simply better able to control their attention." Source: Michael J. Kane, Professor of Psychology, U. of N. Carolina, Greensboro
  • 37. Multitasking also harms long term memory:• Distraction negatively effects • the encoding of information into long-term memory.• Why? Even under optimal conditions, it takes significant time for the brain to switch from one goal to another, from one set of rules to another.• "There is a switching time cost whenever the subject shifts from the [one] task to [another]. And those extra time costs quickly add up."
  • 38. Reviewing:Multi-tasking harms:• attention• working or short term memory• long term memory • in other words: reasoning
  • 39. Breathing...
  • 40. Other costs to distraction:• Let’s forget about psychology and cognitive achievement• What else is lost when we’re constantly self-distracted?
  • 41. Other costs...• missing chances to • see something unique or • meet a new person• less in tune with environment or nature (less "present" in the moment)• increased number of trivial experiences instead of memorable, deep experience• over time, inability to build meaningful projects• less critical mind = more vulnerable to harm• more dangerous to others--distracted driving, e.g.
  • 42. Summing Up:We can distinguish between kinds of experience • (Meaningful vs. Trivial)Meaningful experience leads to important products we value • (Friendship, talents, etc.)Character is key to having more meaningful experiences. • (Especially detaching and suspending judgment)Philosophy deals in meaningful experience and is, hopefully, anexample as well. To understand philosophy and increasemeaningful experience we need • to guard against distraction • by investigating distraction’s sources and harms
  • 43. Listen to NietzscheIn the midst of an age of work, that is to say, ofhurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, whichwants to get everything done at once,including every old or new book:this art [philosophy] does not so easily getanything done, it teaches to read well, that is tosay, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiouslybefore and aft, with reservations, with doors leftopen, with delicate eyes and fingers.(Dawn, Preface)
  • 44. Any questions?Presentation copyright 2010, David L. Hildebrand, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado Denver