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WATCH: You say distraction, we say multitasking

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 15:01:05-04

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – You’ve probably done it within the past 24 hours.

You sit down to watch TV or a movie, but at the same time, you use a phone or tablet to scroll through the internet and social media.

And now, that’s a common sight in a 5th-grade classroom at Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation.

In Lauren Bailey’s class at Mt. Comfort Elementary, she reads to her students while they are purposefully distracted.

They bounce on exercise balls and tap away on iPads as she reads to them.

“Some people might see it as a disrespect thing,” Bailey said.

But she doesn’t feel that way.

Instead of telling the kids to pay attention and put their devices down, the students are encouraged to multitask.

It’s a new way of teaching called “multisensory teaching.”

Think of it this way: When you drive, you’re concentrating on operating that heavy machinery. But you’re also listening to the radio or music. Maybe you’re talking to someone in the car with you.

Our senses are constantly picking up information and teaching us about our surroundings. So Bailey’s thinking is: Why not make the most of it when it comes to the classroom?

Because every child learns differently, each one may have dominant senses. So Mt. Vernon schools believe this is working.

Across the district, teachers are trying this out, keeping kids busy with more than one subject at a time in 15-minute spurts throughout the day.

Make no mistake: Bailey says there are certainly times she has to tell her students that it’s time to look up from the screen.

But overall, she says sometimes the best use of their time is spent multitasking in class.