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Freedom (to waste time) is Slavery (to whim)
  • Calendar Apr 06, 2018
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments
In my experience, students who struggle at staying organized and getting their schoolwork done aren't struggling because they don't care (although it may seem that way, this is often just a defense mechanism...if I fail because I don't care, I'm not actually a failure, right?) They are struggling because their minds are searching for something, anything, to distract them from their "failures". So instead of sitting down to study for a math test they will soon realize they are terribly behind on, they scroll through instagram on their phone. Instead of looking at powerschool to see what their grades are, they play xbox or text friends. Does this sound like something you experience too? Sometimes what we need is to limit our options and opportunities for distraction. As adults, this is a skill we've already learned (though certainly are still learning). For example, here are a few things I do 1) I use "Stayfocused" to block time-wasting sites on my computer 2) I've created long, difficult to remember passwords for social media and other sites, and those passwords are only saved on my iPad apps (and a password manager app on my iPad) 3) I've deleted all time-wasting apps on my phone, and use "Zero Willpower" (ha!) app to block websites on Safari 4) I use Focusmate to schedule work sessions with a work partner 5) I schedule the task I dread doing most for first thing in the morning 6) When I come across a task I am feeling resistance to doing, I slowly count down "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" and then I do it without hesitation (sounds silly, but it works for me!) These limitations I put on myself have come from a long process of learning what works for me and what doesn't. So how can we, as adults, help students take advantage of the wisdom that freedom (to fritter time away) is slavery (to whim)? The most important thing to remember is that these restrictions on my freedom, if they were imposed by someone else, would seem like an unbearable tyranny. Imagine a manager than made you do the things I listed above! How barbaric that would be. Now imagine how a teenager would feel about a parent telling him what apps he can and cannot have on his phone. You'd have instant rebellion! So how do we help students learn these skills? How can we help students understand the power of restriction without making it feel like a burden imposed by someone else? The key is making the student an important part of the process, which I talk about here. Please, share with me some ways that you, as adults (or your children) have put limits on yourself in order to keep yourself on task.

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