The Economics of Attention - Finding scholé in the pursuit of the Good

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About This Workshop

Our intake of information, that is a human's ability to attend, is a scarce commodity. Attention is a finite natural resource. Every teacher must learn to curate the best program for each course; knowing that there's no way to cover every possibility. As Lewis writes in his essay, "Our English Syllabus", "A perfect study of English would involve all this; nay as Hegel saw, a perfect study of anything requires a knowledge of everything. But 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne' forces us to be content with less..."

What is the instructor to do, then? While there is no prefect syllabus for any course at any school, there are some basic fundamental principles which can guide us in understanding our students, preparing for our courses, and employing the right pedagogies when teaching our students.

One issue I've seen along my teaching career is this: teachers often don't believe that a student's intrinsic motivation will be enough to generate engagement and passion. So often, dedicated instructors feel it is their responsibility to MAKE students learn, to ensure that they do. John Holt, in his acclaimed "How Children Learn" writes that the essence of being an excellent teacher "can be summed up in two words – Trust Children." We'll explore this (often controversial) concept and explore classroom pedagogies as we seek to lay a feast before the children and attend to the things which are most worthwhile.

John Holt: How Children Learn
Parker J. Palmer: The Courage to Teach
Michael Strong: The Habit of Thought

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