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Monday, January 09, 2006

Attention Surplus Syndrome (from Mike Adams)

Mike Adams is a professor of criminal justice and all-around smart-alec at UNC Wilmington. He has a pretty good piece on what he calls Attention Surplus Syndrome (and yes, it works quite well as an acronym). He describes the symptoms to his students as:
  • Lateness
  • Interruptive-ness
  • Cell phone addiction
  • Excuse making
He also goes at great length into how he deals with those students who exhibit these symptoms in class. It's worth putting in the file to share with your students. Read the whole thing here.

As an aside, I had a former student (who currently works for an investment bank) come back to talk with my students. After describing her typical day at work (and it's a long one), we had a question and answer time. One student asked her what were the most important lessons she's learned since she got out. She said that the business world works on three rules:
Rule Number 1- It's your fault.
If your boss needs a set of numbers on his desk by 8:00 a.m., he doesn't care why it's not there, only that it isn't. He's got money (and his job) on the line, and you might just have cost him both. So, don't expect understanding on his part.

Rule Number 2- It's not your fault, refer to Rule #1

Rule Number 3- If you can't deal with Rules #1 and 2, there are 100 people out there who'd love to have your job.
I share this story with my students at the beginning of the semester. Before each assignment is given out, I ask them, "What are Rules #1 and #2?" They eventually get it. I may even put a question about "the rules" on the first quiz - after all, we should quiz them on the material that's most important to their success in class, right?).

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