While in Laramie at Ben Slavic’s workshop he mentioned that he does not allow the students to have anything at their desk. No pens, pencils, papers, bags, nothing. At first I realized that this really cuts down on doodling and getting off task. I just realized that there is more to it.
When I learned English, I didn’t take notes. Now, of course I didn’t take notes because I couldn’t write; I was just a kid. But there is something to this. I acquired the language by hearing it and communicating. It was a completely oral thing and I was focused on making sense of the sounds that I was hearing. Later, I made the connection of what I heard to what is seen.
No wonder that kids have difficulty speaking. Teachers do it the other way around. We place an importance on what is seen instead of what is heard. When we take away the visual the students must pay attention or they will not get the language. We make this easier for them because the material is about topics of interest to them so they want to learn about it.