Friday, April 13, 2018

Listening Skills


Eighth grade science. They were to watch a video on genetics and answer questions on a handout. (Here's the video if you're interested.)

Showing videos is one of the basic skills any sub needs. I know all the tricks from "press play" to how to set up the computer to hook up to the projector so everyone can watch. I've even figured out how to troubleshoot most of the audio problems that might crop up.

But this day we were doing things very differently.

Each student was assigned an in-class Chromebook. (This is a laptop computer with limited memory but easy connection to the school's wi-fi network.) They were to retrieve their computer, search for the video, and then watch it on their computer on their own.

This is actually kind of a great way to do a video. If they miss something, they can back it up. They listen to it on headphones, so they're locked into their own little world. And I don't have to watch the thing (especially over and over and over again), although I heard bits of it, kind of like a group singing in the round...

The students got their computers. I passed out the questions. I walked around to make sure they all found the correct video. Just as I settled in while they were working, a student raised his hand.

"Can I listen to music?"

Ummm...

I get this question a lot. And the answer is usually yes. When they're doing independent work, it helps some of them focus.

But they were watching a video. With narration. And people explaining things to the camera. They were supposed to listen to it so they could answer the questions.

I was so taken aback by the question that I sputterd a bit. The boy helpfully offered that his teacher sometimes lets them.

I asked how he could listen to music and watch the video. He didn't understand my question.

Flummoxed, I figured trying to explain why the music was a bad idea was just going to go over his head. So, instead I gave him a straight no.

Unless he has some mad listening skills and can listen to music and a video at the same time...

Nah. I'm clearly putting more thought into this than he did.

Did you know Bill Nye did other shows besides his Science Guy stuff? Can you listen to music and watch a show at the same time (and understand both)? Do you listen to music to help you focus?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

50 comments:

  1. Fond memories of teachers fumbling about with (in those days) VHS video recorders trying to figure out why they weren't working, eventually calling someone else for help before the whole thing was abandoned. Now I'm the older generation struggling to understand all these new technologies!
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2018/04/13/l-is-for-lisbon-portugal/

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    1. Ah, the days of just push play... Good times.

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  2. Hi Liz - sometimes I can do both ... but if I need to concentrate and learn - then no ... I need to get on and absorb the information ... cheers Hilary

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  3. He probably figured he'd just turn on the captions. But who knows if the video would even come with them?

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  4. Yes, you can listen to music, after you watch the video

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    1. It was just such a weird request.

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  5. Heck, no. I can't do it. "After you watch the video" makes sense.

    I have not so fond memories of the film reel days. I would set it all up, leave explicit detailed instructions, and still the sub would screw it up.

    I really love your stories of life as a sub. My days were in elementary, so I usually did mine. Being bigger than a 1st grader helped.

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    1. You'd be amazed how cowed the big boys can be by a petite teacher who means business.

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  6. Music does help me concentrate. It also helps me sleep. But in both cases, it has to be the right kind of music.

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    1. I know it does help a lot of people.

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  7. That’s a good one. Hmm, actually perhaps it would be possible, depending on the music, I suppose. I sometimes listen to a podcast while the TV is on. But one or the other turns out to be background noise.

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  8. That sounds like an ideal way to get them more focused. At least without the music. ~grin~ 'm with Red. In addition, I'm one of those rare people who not only likes listening to music while writing but actually will pick something with lyrics I can understand and even follow along. Be well!

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    1. While you're writing... I think that's common, actually. Whatever works, right?

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  9. I absolutely can not work and listen to music simultaneously. Some people at my job do this to drown out noise (it's noisy out on the work floor) but I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  10. My girls all watched Bill Nye (and so I watched it with them). I love instrumental music while I work, but anything with lyrics is distracting since the brain can only process one thing at a time in that regard. That's why I like cello music.

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    1. I can see cello music helping you to focus.

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  11. I show Bill Nye during science units a lot! I'll look out for his other videos.

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    1. This one was more like a regular doc, so probably not great for the younger kiddos like you teach.

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  12. It depends on the music, I ca get distracted by it if I am multitasking. Sometimes it helps get the task done.

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  13. lol. *sigh*

    I haven't ever tried to listen to music and watch a video at the same time. I have to focus on one thing or the other. Unless I'm editing photos for the blog. Either the editing is mindless or the video watching is, though.

    I did know Bill Nye did another show recently. Something about "Bill Nye Saves the World"? Did he do something else too? I've heard mixed reviews on BNSTW.

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    1. It's probably Bill Nye Saves the World. Sounds about right.

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  14. Oh my, he was just not wanting to do this. I can watch tv and write here or read something and I like listening to music when I read.

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    1. Yeah, that's the most likely explanation.

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  15. I often have music on when I'm working, but it mustn't be anything with words! Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip! Loving my Fitbit

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  16. No, I think he was trying to throw the sub. Wow, though, technology sure has changed!

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  17. I can do some things with music playing, but if I'm concentrating, I prefer silence. If music must be on while I'm concentrating, I can deal with instrumental only. This is actually kind of funny because my day job is all about music, but when I'm editing, silence is the only way I get things done.

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    1. I think some of us are auditory learners, so music helps/hinders us.

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  18. Hi, Liz - I am stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip. I was a Middle School Principal for 25 years...and I GREATLY appreciated our Substitute Teachers. Sounds like you had this situation all under control. Although I like to consider myself as "creative", I cannot visualize (or hear in my mind) how the student in question would listen with headphones to two completely different soundtracks. If you ever find out the answer to this, I would love for you to share it!

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    1. Alas, I think we're spending more thought on this than he was ;)

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  19. Haha you sort of have to admire him for trying
    Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip
    Debbie

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    1. I've seen much more clever, so I'm more concernced than admiring :)

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  20. Great post! My husband recently began substituting and the repetitive video is his nemesis! That and hoodies!

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    1. Oh man... Sometimes I want to bring a huge pair of scissors and cut off all the hoods of students who WON'T LEAVE THEM DOWN IN CLASS. Sorry for the shouting, but it does get so old...

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  21. Ps-stopping by with the A to Z Challenge Road Trip!

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  22. Nope - can't do both at the same time. Just stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip!

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    1. I'm not crazy. Of course, we are talking about middle schoolers, who are...

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  23. Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip. I'm definitely not a music listener when I'm working - I naturally prefer quiet. Alas, Nye is firmly typecast in my mind as Science Guy, and anything else he did would just seem oddly out of character. But perhaps he could explain the science behind music listening and simultaneous video watching.

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    1. It's a science documentary. So, still science guy.

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  24. No, I cannot listen to music and watch a video I am supposed to also hear and learn from. Recently, I was at a relative's house and he had the TV on with full sound as well as music videos on his laptop. Then, he tried to have a conversation with me over the top of all of it. It was complete overload for me. Just can't imagine doing that and trying to learn.
    Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip!
    Emily In Ecuador

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    1. Oh wow. Yeah, that would be overload for me, too.

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  25. Hi Liz, stopping by from the A to Z Road Trip. I love to listen to music while I craft or as I'm reading blogs but no way could I concentrate enough to try listening to it while watching a video. Going to check out your Etsy shop now. I have one too!

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  26. Just stopping over on the AtoZRoadTrip. And no I don't watch tv and listen to music but....my daycare children request Pandora Radio during meals and they still talk my leg off the whole time lol My PhD student/daughter however does. I'm pretty sure it took lots of time to be successful at that.

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  27. Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip! I sub a lot too. Ican listen to some music to help me concentrate on some things. Could never do it while I have concentrate on a video. Try it yourself, try listening to music while watching TV. As a sub in an elementary school, I don’t get to show many videos. I’m a storyteller, so both teachers and students would rather hear me tell a story than watch a video.

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  28. Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip!
    I love to listen to music. I believe, music is magical. It touches the soul.

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  29. The Bill Nye show on Netflix is pretty good.
    Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip!
    My cousin watches tv and listens to music at the same time sometimes. It'd drive me nuts, but he seems fine with it. Maybe if it were just instrumental music playing at a lower volume than the video? I don't know. Teachers weren't as laid back when I was in school.

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  30. Listening to music while in class... Wow. We never had that.
    I do listen to music to help me focus -- though my playlists might not help everyone to focus :-)

    Ronel from Ronel the Mythmaker A-Z road-tripping with Everything Writerly: L is for Life

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    1. It's only something that they're allowing more and more now.

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