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According to this author Fidget Spinners are the answer to what she describes as an epidemic of boredom!

An epidemic, it’s said, that leads us to pursue unhealthy activities whilst we’re bored like shopping on Ebay (and consequently overspending). And maybe even boredom eating would come into that category, contributing to another epidemic that gets a lot of media coverage; obesity. Fidget Spinners claim to offer the antidote!

But whilst an epidemic of boredom would hardly seem of major importance, disruption in classroom needs to be. Which is what these fidget spinners are causing.

What are they anyway? They are little tools (not toys – apparently) that, whilst you fiddle with them (not play, of course), relieve other distracting activities that boredom can lead to like daydreaming for example, so the user will be able to concentrate better on the task in hand – like the lesson.

This is the way this latest craze is sold to us. But does this whole scenario not seem a little bit similar to the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

Whilst research has shown that some children, particularly those with the condition ADHD, are able to concentrate more effectively whilst they are fiddling with something in their hands, teachers are finding that these items are creating more havoc in the classroom than achievement. Children are – quite naturally – more focussed on them than on some curriculum objectives that the teacher is trying to deliver.

And although adults in an office may manage their use of them effectively and still get their work done, anyone who knows children will probably agree that they won’t have those same management skills and are far more likely to be focussed on their Spinner than any spin coming from the teacher!

Consequently there are mounting requests for them to be banned from classrooms.

Staff generally agree that they are disrupting lessons and causing further stress to already stressed teachers. One harassed teacher gives their view here

The point is about these toys – and they have become more toys than tools now – that whilst they may be helping one child in a class of thirty kids, they’re very likely to be distracting twenty nine others. And is that fair? Would you allow your child to take them into classrooms?

Surely, knowing children as we do, is it not more likely that any child is going to be seduced by the presence of an intriguing little gadget like this, rather than what’s on offer on the curriculum?

Of course another argument would be that if the curriculum was more engaging there wouldn’t be any boredom anyway!

Whether you’re a parent, teacher or student, what are your thoughts? What would be your solution to the problem of allowing those who need it to be helped, whilst avoiding distraction of the rest?

 

 

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