My kids got fidget spinners recently. This morning I was taking a look at one of them and I got to thinking, how much does this tool help build focus versus how much does it distract focus.
As I watched my kids playing with them, I found myself focused on the spinning of the toy, while they were shifting the way they were holding it. There was definitely something mesmerizing about it, but I don’t think it helped me pay attention to any idea deeper, or keep my focus on my thoughts. Rather, I was entranced with the sound and visual, and I couldn’t think of anything else.
I’m definitely a fidgeter. I talk with my hands, I find myself rocking back and forth when I’m standing, I present by moving back and forth across a stage or walking around a room, and I’m always tapping my foot.
And, as I think about it, I’m not sure if fidgeting, as an action, helps me pay more attention or not. It just seems to be something I do.
Could I pay attention better if I didn’t fidget? Am I more effective or efficient when I do?
Regardless, we all have our own ways of getting into our learning and doing space. For some, it might be tapping our feet. For others, it might be rolling a pen. For more, it might be twirling hair. For still others, it might be playing with a fidget spinner.
And how do we determine when someone else’s need to fidget is someone else’s distraction?
While schools are making decisions to confiscate fidget spinners from all, it is quite possible that for some, they are tools that help learners focus.
The fact is, we all have our own fidget behaviors, and it makes sense for us to recognize them, and consider how we can keep learners learning.