Education and ADHD

‘And this is deep in the gene pool of public education; there are only two types of people – academic and non-academic; smart people and non smart people. And the consequence of that is that many brilliant people think they’re not because they’ve been judged against this particular view of the mind. So we have twin pillars – economic and intellectual. And my view is that this model has caused chaos in many people’s lives; it’s been great for some, there have been people who have benefited wonderfully from it. But most people have not. Instead they suffer this; this is the modern epidemic and it’s as misplaced and as it’s fictitious. This is the plague of ADHD.

[…] Don’t mistake me, I don’t mean to say there is no such thing as Attention Deficit Disorder. I’m not qualified to say if there is such a thing. I know that a great majority of psychologists and paediatricians think there is such a thing, but it’s still a matter of debate. What I do know for a fact is it’s not an epidemic. These kids are being medicated as routinely as we had our tonsils taken out. And on the same whimsical basis and for the same reason – medical fashion.

Our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth. They’re being besieged with information and calls for their attention from every platform -computers, from iPhones, from advertising hoardings, from hundreds of television channels and we’re penalising them now for getting distracted. From what? Boring stuff at school, for the most part.

It seems to me it’s not a coincidence totally that the incidence of ADHD has risen in parallel with the growth of standardised testing. Now these kids are being given Ritalin and Adderall and all manner of things, often quite dangerous drugs, to get them focused and calm them down. But according to this [map], Attention Deficit Disorder increases as you travel east across the country. People start losing interest in Oklahoma, they can hardly think straight in Arkansas and by the time they get to Washington they’ve lost it completely. And there are separate reasons for that I believe. It’s a fictitious epidemic.’

– Robinson, K. (2008, June 16) Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system.

For many students, time is an enemy. Or at least something tricky to get their heads around. The Pomodoro Technique allows people to work together with time instead of against the clock. It also allows them to manage priorities better and eliminate procrastination. It may even increase the enjoyment of relaxing between study sessions because the student does not have to worry about questions like “Should I be working right now?”

“Let us study things that are no more. It is necessary to understand them, if only to avoid them.” – Victor Hugo

The Pomodoro is not just about helping people get things done in the present; it is also about learning how you work so you can save time in the future: Once students have got the hang of the technique, they are more likely to predict how many Pomodoros it will take to accomplish their next study task.

There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the timer to P minutes (usually 25 minutes).
  3. Complete the session.
  4. Take a short break (usually 5 minutes).
  5. After four sessions, take a longer break (usually 15–30 minutes).

What You Leave Out Is As Important As What You Leave In

Too many of our knowledge institutions base their authority on spurious claims of ‘comprehensiveness’. We prefer storytellers to panels of faceless academics.

“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”
– Henry Green

See other: Philosophy of Interestingness

If It’s Worth Writing Down, It’s Worth Writing Down Clearly

Technical terms, jargon and mumbo jumbo might give you the fleeting warmth of belonging to an exclusive club, but they are the enemies of truth. As the anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote, if you can’t explain yourself to a twelve-year-old child, stay inside the university or lab until you have a better grasp of your subject matter.

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”
– Jacques Barzun

See other: Philosophy of Interestingness

On Knowledge For Its Own Sake

“It’s an extraordinary thing, it’s always the children who say “sir, sir, what’s the point of geometry or what’s the point of Latin” who end up having no job, being alcoholic and they don’t notice that the ones that actually find knowledge for its own sake and pleasure in information and history and the world and nature around us are actually getting on and doing things with our fucking lives. It’s an odd thing.”

– Stephen Fry