Despite my inability to write anything of value in notebooks, I’d still end up with high scores on tests. Studies have shown that doodlers actually -aren’t- goldfish people (a silly assumption anyway; the average human attention span is 8 seconds — which is actually 1 second less than the average goldfish), but we still have a collective tendency to regard seemingly distracted folks – doodlers, fidgeters, etc. — as bored, daydreaming, or plain uninterested.
“Why aren’t you paying attention?
These are questions that have been posed to my elementary school-aged brothers, who have also been (in my opinion, overly eagerly) diagnosed as attention-deficient and subsequently medicated… and I know they aren’t the only ones. This immensely concerning to me not only as a sister, but also as someone who’s worked with public school elementary teachers firsthand… and witnessed a rather desultory approach to curriculum and very real reluctance to cover any material not required on standardized tests – namely, the Virginia SOL.
It’s not a matter of lack of caring or lack of investment — it’s a matter of engagement, and further, being permitted to engage with subjects in a way that makes the most of your natural learning styles. For me, it’s a mesh of visual and tactile; information thrown at me synthesizes when my hand makes lines and shapes. Synapses fire and facts are committed to memory when I tweak the details on a shadow. The brain works in the same way for many with a million other activities — exercise, listening to music, raking leaves; My dad’s best thinking sessions come while making mailboxes. However, these predominantly kinesthetic learning styles can’t be supported in today’s rigid classroom –and they get shut down.
This was supposed to be a post about fun doodles but it turned sort of heavy. Oof. All this goes to reinforce the old adage: don’t judge a book (especially a doodler’s book) by it’s cover. But beyond that, don’t be so quick to assume someone else is going to get the same story by reading the book. Watch them illustrate the book, make annotations at the bottom of the page, adapt the book into a play, or song, or even turn the pages into original origami sculptures. A good teacher accepts the fact that the brain works in mysterious ways; a great teacher (and learner) embraces it.