Sunday, January 18, 2009

Selective Attention - Learning Skills 101

Last week, we began to understand what learning skills are and how they impact a student on a daily basis. If you recall, we stated that learning skills are the underlying mental skills formally known as attention, visual/auditory processing, memory, processing, word attack and auditory analysis. Most of our children experience these skills through reading, writing, spelling, paying attention, remembering, recalling and how quick we can respond to a request.

To continue our discussion around the "attention" learning skill, we recall our student from last week's example was having trouble paying attention to more than one thing at a time. We said our student had weak divided attention and in our example, this student also displayed weak ability to process more than one item at a time. There are definite exercises to work our student through from last week that will strengthen the weaknesses cited. Divided attention can be identified, measured and strengthened.

This week, we will talk about selective attention and cite an example. Selective attention is the skill that enables us to literally choose what we will pay attention to. We can still take in everything in our visual span but we only "select" one thing at a time to pay attention to. Let's begin.

Mike is a 10th grade student in his local public school district where the number of students in his science classroom is now approaching 28 fellow peers, thanks to school budget issues. The teacher is a bit overworked and underpaid, the students in the class are a good mix of high performers, middle of the road workers and average to slightly below average students. The student population just happens to be mostly young ladies and only a few young men. Mike is the pick of crop according to the young ladies in his class. The few males in the class cling to Mike for dear life to try and survive the uneven balance of gender population. They also see Mike as their leader because he presents so cool and collective. This semester the class is exploring Human Biology.

A typical class scenario in his science class is Mike arrives and the girls swarm to him. The remaining males follow along and hope for some attention. The teacher tries her best to gain control, separate the students and get everyone organized and focused. The teacher begins first with lecture to prep and gain interest in what will be a long "lecture" with visuals on basic genetics and chromosomes. Yawn ... is what Mike begins to hear himself think. However, Mike needs this class and a good grade too because he thinks he may pursue science as a career. He knows he cannot afford to drift off and lose track of the discussion. In order to be successful, Mike needs to pull away from his friends, his fellow peers, stop the internal thoughts about the discussion that was just occurring and quiet his overall mind to begin focusing on the teacher.

Mike engages his selective attention and literally blocks out the noise in the classroom. The girls giggling, the guys whispering, the pencils falling, the teacher coughing, the students walking by the room in the hallway are just a few distractions that Mike chooses not to attend to with his focus. Mike's prefrontal cortex has just kicked into gear. This area of the brain decides what will receive attention, which cognitive resources will be used to analyze the incoming information and which distractions will be eliminated. Lucky for Mike, his selective attention skills are strong and he is able to focus on the teacher speaking, ignore the distractions around himself and his classroom and process the incoming information that will be on the next test. Not many students are as lucky as Mike and find it very difficult to block out distractions

Try this Selective Attention Test and see how you do.

Experience it from two different perspectives. One from being successful and paying attention to what was asked of you and nothing else. Second, from the perspective of weak selective attention and not being able to pay attention to what is being asked of you no matter how hard you try to focus and you understand what you are to pay attention to.

Selective attention is one of three types of attention in the broad sense. This skill can be easily identified, measured and strengthened. Do not wait to have your child's selective attention skills assessed today. Email now and save 50% off the cost. Everything you need to help your student is provided in my Enhanced Learning Skills System.

The good news is that the above skill is just one of many that you are able to strengthen due to the brain's ability to develop and grow. A student doesn't need to struggle with this weak skill set any longer. The Enhanced Learning Skills System was designed to strengthen learning skills required to learn and read easier and more efficiently. Call me today for an assessment and let's begin working together to help your child learn with ease.

Next time, we will discuss another learning skill and that impacts everyday learning ability and how there is hope and a solution. Call today for more information on your choices! Colleen can be reached at (908) 285-8352.

Parents: If you child is having difficulty with reading and comprehension or learning in general, there is a solution. ELSK provides research based programs that provide impactful measurable results in as little as 12 weeks. Studies on the incredible results are available for your viewing. I provide services for children with learning challenges and specialize in students with reading and comprehension challenges. Your child will enjoy learning with much less effort. Go to my website today for more information.

Colleen Bain has a Masters in Special Education. She is certified in special and general education. She has been married for 16 years and has been blessed with two children with special needs. She has over
eleven years of experience with special needs and over 20 years business experience. As Sole Proprietor of Enhanced Learning Skills for Kids, Colleen provides intense one-on-one cognitive training to individuals ages 8 and older, specializing in Reading and Comprehension.

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