Ever glance over your teenagers shoulder and see them studying with their Facebook page open? Or texting on their phone while writing their homework essay?
As a parent did you ever experience the sinking feeling that this was not right? That your teenager cannot study effectively while texting or engaging with friends on Facebook?
Well guess what – science is proving you right! As a teenager, allowing yourself to be distracted while studying is a bad idea for the following reason.
“It’s called Attention Residue,’ says Kevin Flanagan, ‘when a study period is interrupted by a text message, part of a teenager’s attention remains fixed on the message they have just read. They cannot immediately get back to study. Instead they may have to wait for up to 25 minutes to regain full focus, as part of their brain is now occupied with the information they have just received.”
And it gets worse. It’s called the Zeigarnik effect. “But it’s not just teenagers studying for exams that expose themselves to this effect,” explains Kevin, ‘You are enjoying a relaxing weekend when, against your better judgment, you check your email only to find a work colleague unfairly blaming you for a bad job. Despite your best efforts the news occupies your mind and can effectively wreck the rest of your weekend.”
The same can happen to teenagers trawling through Facebook while studying. “They see a friend posting a pic of a night out they were not invited to and, despite their best efforts, they cannot get this perceived slight out of their minds and their study session is effectively over.”
THE SOLUTION – LEARN TO “DEEP STUDY”
Researchers call it Deep Study. You turn off your phone and immerse yourself in nothing but the topic at hand. Do this and your retention and understanding can soar by up to 80%.
The good news for teenagers is that they need only do this Deep Study for 50 minute stints followed by a ten minute break. And five Deep Study session a day will give you the equivalent of a week’s shallow, distracted study.
‘Learning Deep Study techniques is a win-win situation for teenagers and their parents,’ says Kevin, ‘They’ll enjoy better grades in exams and less conflict in the home because after Deep Study teenagers can happily spend the rest of their free time on Facebook knowing they have put in the work needed.’ And parents will be happier as well.
“You won’t see your teenagers eyes drifting over to their Facebook page during homework – so there will be less arguments in the home as the need to nag disappears!’
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