Multitasking is taking away the focus on what’s important

What does it really mean when the public says they are or trying to multitask, especially in schools or driving.

Maddy Frazier, Editor

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     Multitasking isn’t really doing multiple things at once, it’s people thinking they are when they aren’t. According to The Telegraph, “you may think you’re being more efficient but actually you’re attempting to do things quickly – and badly” (Multitasking is scientifically impossible, so give up now. December 13, 2018). A student being taught a lesson during class that’s staring at their phone is only going to remember the parts they heard when they weren’t looking at their screen. Their learning or note taking won’t end up how they should. Then, when it’s going to be time to take a test or quiz for that lesson the students who had their eyes glued to their phones won’t score as well as the students who were focused on learning the lesson at hand. Doing something fun or more interesting than what’s supposed to be paid attention to causes focus to be lost and transferred onto the more exciting thing. This is why most people like eye contact when talking to someone, so they know the other person or people are listening, and not off in their own worlds.

     It may seem like someone’s multitasking, but they aren’t. When someone is driving and they pick up their phone to text someone else, their eyes aren’t on the road or paying attention to where they are going. Their eyes are focused on the screen and so is their brain. Their head isn’t thinking about what their next move is. They also aren’t thinking about their speed, the signs on the side of the road, street lights, other drivers, or the direction they are going. They may have a sense of remembrance of what they are doing, but not a clue what’s going on around them.

     The thought of multitasking isn’t only a problem with driving, and learning: it proceeds on. It disturbs the process of what people are actually doing and supposed to get done. Someone who tends to pull out their phone while on the road or in class will most likely do it again until something goes wrong for them or others. Stopping the habit will only happen if the object they are multitasking with is out of reach or punishments are made if caught. Not many people do get caught trying to do things like multitasking, so they have no reason to be scared of getting in trouble for not paying attention to something they are supposed to which could be dangerous.

     How many people know they aren’t multitasking and why do they try? Jeff Crouse, a World, US, and IB History teacher at NC said, “I think the generation now growing up with phones think they can multitask with them because they grew up using them.” Phones are a big deal when it comes to people saying they are multitasking and some people know that multitasking can’t happen. This is why most teachers tell kids to put their phones away in class: it’s a distraction. Especially when the slightest buzz, a notification sound going off, or a phone call can trigger a student’s focus to go off. It doesn’t only affect one person: it affects everyone who notices the sound. The only exception to this is music without lyrics.

     Music with lyrics, though many people claims it helps them focus, doesn’t help anyone who is completing tasks that involve the left side of the brain. The music’s lyrics may help when drawing, cleaning, or exercising, but it does not work when doing math, reading a book, writing, or listening to someone else talk. According to Phoenix University “…your brain can struggle to process music lyrics and do school work simultaneously” (Science in our world: Certainty and Controversy). For example, if someone is listening to “Eastside” by Benny Blanco, Halsey, and Khalid, while doing notes, taking a test, or quiz they are not multitasking if they are jamming to it, singing the words in their head or out loud instead of doing their work. It’s just like talking to someone and trying to write something other than what they are saying. It doesn’t happen no matter how hard someone tries.

     Trying to work with other people talking is a big issue of multitasking. If people know multitasking doesn’t work then why do some teachers talk while making their students write notes about what’s on their powerpoints or explanations on the white boards? Don’t people realize that talking while someone is writing their notes is distracting? Since many teachers explain notes, and expect listening skills of students to grow maybe notes shouldn’t have to be written down while teachers are explaining but before or even after. Remembering what’s being written down is also hard for some kids when they are listening to teachers talk really fast, all they are seeing is words. They aren’t remembering what’s being written down because of the teacher talking about the same thing or others in different ways instead of how it is exactly written. Carl Myers, an English teacher at NC said, “Science has proven people are bad at multitasking.”

     With the teachers writing notes on the board for students to write down and are talking at the same time, Myers explanation on it was, “ I feel rushed for time.” Teachers have a lot to teach their students throughout one school year. They may feel pushed too much for the time limit they have, and they have to fit in everything in order to meet their goals. Some teachers do know they are in the wrong by making students try to multitask when they can’t. However, some students are capable to get one thing done quickly enough to not have to try and multitask to understand everything being said or written down. Myers said, “People are actually good with some multitasking…good with physical movement and spatial processing.”  Examples of this are walking and driving; people know where they are going without looking or remembering their exact moves. This type of multitasking only works when people are doing something physical.