Mind Wandering

Many students don't pay much attention in class. They come to class, but most of the time, only their bodies are present. When they study, that demanding task occurs as they attend to a host of other, often more engaging mental activities. It is a problem, but maybe our expectations are unrealistic. As Pachai, Acai, LoGiudice, and Kim (2016) say, “It is unreasonable to expect students to continuously pay attention while listening to a lecture, reading a textbook, or studying for an exam. The mind naturally wanders, shifting attention from the primary task at hand to internal, personally relevant thoughts” (p. 134). In fact, researchers estimate that Pachai and colleagues say that our minds wander 30–50 percent of the time during our daily lives. It happens to teachers, students, and everybody else.

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