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Summary

Keeping students focused can be difficult in a world filled with distractions - which is why a renowned educator created a scientific solution to one of every teacher's biggest problems.

Why is it so hard to get students to pay attention? Conventional wisdom blames iPhones, insisting that access to technology has ruined students' ability to focus. The logical response is to ban electronics in class. 

But acclaimed educator James M. Lang argues that this solution obscures a deeper problem: how we teach is often at odds with how students learn. Classrooms are designed to force students into long periods of intense focus, but emerging science reveals that the brain is wired for distraction. We learn best when able to actively seek and synthesize new information.

In Distracted, Lang rethinks the practice of teaching, revealing how educators can structure their classrooms less as distraction-free zones and more as environments where they can actively cultivate their students' attention.

Brimming with ideas and grounded in new research, Distracted offers an innovative plan for the most important lesson of all: how to learn.

©2020 James M. Lang (P)2020 Basic Books

Critic reviews

"Attention is an essential part of the learning process. Yet, to those who teach, attention can feel elusive and fleeting. In Distracted, James Lang helps us navigate the challenges presented by technologies that bring both a world of information, and the potential for endless distractions, to students' fingertips. Lang encourages us to rethink our attempts to ban anything that may distract learners, and instead, to focus on practices that gain attention." (Bonni Stachowiak, Teaching in Higher Ed)

"Lang's books have held a place of honor in my library of parenting and education books, and Distracted will, too. It is a delightful mash-up of the research and history on attention and learning. I adore this book and will be recommending it to parents and teachers." (Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure)

"This book will change how you think about education. Distracted takes us on a phenomenal ride into a much misunderstood aspect of human learning and finally into the refreshing light that science, literature, philosophy, and history bring. Anyone who cares about learning - their own or anyone else's - should take this journey." (Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do)

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