Downsides of  brain Plasticity

Televison watching, correlates with brain problems
A study of 2600 toddlers showed that  early exposure to TV between ages of 1and 3 correlates with problems paying attention and controlling impulses later in childhood.
For every hour the toddlers watched daily their chances of developing attention deficit problems are raised by 10%..
About twenty years after the spread of TV teachers of young children npticed their students had become more restless and had increasing difficulty paying attention.
When these children entered college, professors complained of having to dumb down their courses each new year, for students who were increasingly interested in "sound bytes" and intimidated by reading of any length.
Meanwhile the problem was 'buried" by grade inflation and acclerated by the push for  computers in every classroom which aimed to increase the RAM and Gigabytes rather than the attention spans and memories of the students.

TV, music videos and video games, all of which use TV techniques, unfold at a much faster pace than real life, and they are getting faster,which causes people to develop an increased appetite for high speed transitions, in those media. It is the form of the TV medium- cuts, edits and zooms, pans and sudden noises- that alters the brain, by activating what Pavlov called the 'orienting response', which ocurrs whenver we sense a sudden change in the world, especially a sudden movement. We instinctively interrupt whatever we are doing to turn, pay attention, and get our bearings.The orientation response evolved no doubt because our forbears were both predators and prey and needed to react to situations that could be dangerous or could provide oportunities for food or sex, or simply to novel situations. The response is physiological : the heart slows for  4--6 seconds. Television triggers this reponse at a far more rapid rate than real life, which is why we can't keep our eyes off the TV, even in the middle of an intimate conversation, and why people watch TV a lot longer than they intend. because typical music videos, action sequences and commercials trigger orienting responses at a rate of 1 per second, watching them puts us into contiuous orienting response with no recovery.
No wonder people report  feeling  drained from watching TV. Yet we acquire a taste for it and find slower changes boring. 
The cost is that such activities as reading, complex conversation, and listening to lectures become more difficult.
So the habit of TV watching  addicts us to a dizzying unreality, causing us to switch off from
our  own real lives.

From The Times London
April 14, 2009
Julian Chapman: action-packed TV shows "cut pupils attention span"
Joanna Sugden

A generation of inattentive pupils who are incapable of rigorous, in-depth learning has been created by fast-paced television shows, according to the new head of a teaching union.

Julian Chapman, the president of the NASUWT, believes that pupils lack the resolve to sit through boring but necessary lessons because television programmes packed with sound bites and loud pop music have shortened their attention spans.

There is enormous pressure to keep students engaged and attentive at all times,? Mr Chapman will tell the union?s annual conference in Bournemouth today. ?Teachers today are struggling to compete with the sort of presentation seen on television, but without the benefits of the resources available in a studio.?

Students' concentration span appears to have been tailored to the sound and vision bite, rather than having to undergo the more rigorous process of in-depth learning.?
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Bad behaviour in schools is often a result of pupils having to endure boring lessons, Ofsted inspectors say. Mr Chapman, an art teacher at Cheltenham Bournside School, argues that parts of the national curriculum are not particularly relevant and students think it is not worth paying attention to certain topics because they will not help them to achieve their ambitions.

We need to be certain of the relevance and context / if we are to keep students engaged and willing partners in the education process.? The Government intends to raise the school-leaving age to 18 by 2013 and it will be crucial to keep pupils who are forced to continue in education after 16 interested in lessons, Mr Chapman will say.

Teachers should be given greater freedom to make decisions about what, how and when they teach and not have to comply with restrictive guidelines, Mr Chapmanwill tell delegates.

It is that professional autonomy that encourages the teacher to deliver truly personalised learning to the students, without constant reference and deferral to the leaden hand of accountability.?

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, will tell members that excessive paperwork has driven the fun and enjoyment out of teaching. Teachers are overwhelmed by huge levels of paperwork, intensive systems of assessment, lesson planning and recording, which serve no educational purpose, she will tell the conference.
Have your say

I agree with Mr Chapman entirely! (Gary grow up!) As a parent of a hyperactive son, I am all too well aware of the damage a short attention span can do to a child's education, but at the moment his favourite programs are Dr Who and football, so I wonder if Mr Chapman has a specific age range in mind

Tamar, Sidmouth, UK

 Sid -Got half way through the second sentence- BORING!