You have probably seen the headlines lately viewing the most recent fad craze: fidget toys. These toys, fidget blocks and most popularly Fidget Spinners, are straightforward gadgets which have taken over classrooms and schools to the stage they are now being banned by many of these, all over the nation.
Initially touted as a focus tool for kids with focus problems, these handheld fidget toys are seemingly becoming tumultuous to classrooms and diverting for teachers. In a recent Working Motherarticle,6th grade teacher, Cristina Bolusi Zawacki, writes:
“Fidget spinners: the phrase makes me cringe. Its claim to fame is the fact that it enables one to channel their excess energy to help keep focus. The single thing my students appear to concentrate on, nevertheless, is not their work, itself, and the spinner. It’s just like a friggin’ siren song. The charisma of another person’s spinner spinning is too much to endure.”
The teacher continues to inquire:
“How is it that my 2-year old is ready to sit long enough to fill the pages of a whole coloring book, yet teenage students cannot function without these choppers of distraction whirling feverishly on their fingertips? Mind you, all these will be exactly the same children who will sit and text for hours, spends incalculable sums of time on social networking, and takes enough selfies in one sitting to carpet The Cloisters.”
Probably the issue isn’t the fidget toys but having less autonomy, self direction, and relevance feature of the mass education model that gives rise to the fidget toy craze. Peter Gray, Boston College psychology professor and writer of Free to Learn, writes until they go to school — that kids want to understand and eagerly explore their world with great devotion and excitement.
In his research on unschoolers and other people that have rejected mass school for alternate types of instruction, Dr. Gray found that human interest and dedication to learning last beyond early childhood. Hewrites: “This astonishing drive and capacity to learn doesn’t turn itself off when kids turn 5 or 6. We turn away it with our coercive system of education. The largest, most enduring lesson of our system of education is the fact that learning is work, to be prevented when possible.”