“In the classroom we return to paper because attention is linear, reflective and focused.”

Martin Pinos spoke at the International Congress of Neurological Care held last week in Teruel with a presentation titled “Getting Attention”. Pinos holds a PhD in Educational Sciences, a Master’s degree in Lifelong Learning, a Master’s degree in Neuroscience and Emotional Management, a degree in Primary School and a specialized teacher in Humanities and Physical Education. He is an expert in emotional management (VEC) and author of several books.

– Among his most recent publications is Heart and Mind, a learning based on neuroscience, emotion and thought, which was a finalist for the Caligramma Awards. Who collects?

These are the contributions that teachers make from studying the brain to our availability to achieve what we want, which is to teach better. It is a 400 page article but it is designed to be easy to read because if not we will not achieve what we intend to attract attention.

This article contrasts with other works of his, such as “Amazing Little Words.”

-This is a little book I wrote during the pandemic, designed to work on self-esteem and resilience based on words, in all the letters of the alphabet. David Bueno, from the University of Barcelona, ​​the only professor of neuroeducation, presents this book in the same way as Conquest of Attention, a book in which I collect the pegs to improve attention and motivation, and is designed to reinforce the message of the teacher or lecturer.

-What are active wedges used for?

– It is a short and versatile resource, lasting only a few minutes, that works by engaging many senses and activating the person cognitively to reinforce what is being said. I collect 170 active wedges.

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-I imagine these pegs have always been there but now they have been given a shape and packaging.

– Probably yes, but this book arose from the need that the teachers in my training conveyed to me. It came from personal experience, from the game, from whatever you thought in a given moment could help get a better message across. Sometimes it’s a game, sometimes it’s a challenge, and often it’s a surprise.

– Attracting attention is now more difficult than before due to the surplus of information and stimulation that exists today. What has changed from what it was before to what it is now?

-From a biological point of view, our brain is basically the same as it was 70,000 years ago, but the advent of digital technologies has modified cognitive processes and attention, especially due to overuse. In countries where technology has not been widely applied, the brain remains the same as it was 200 years ago, however, in more technologically advanced countries, we are seeing fundamental changes in the latest studies due to the overuse of digital technology. When 30 years ago you went into a classroom and told a story, you were wowing kids, and now it has to be done differently, because you’re competing with everything digital. I defend physical paper, as reading on paper is not like digital reading, where elusive thinking is generated, interest moves from one place to another, and does not settle on anything. On paper, attention is linear, reflective, focused, and undistracted. We have realized this and are returning to using paper in the classroom.

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-Will this return to paper be achieved? Isn’t it a tough battle?

– It will be very difficult, but necessary. If this doesn’t change, we’re going to have trouble as a species. In Europe, several countries, including Spain, are preparing to ban scrolling, the tool that technology companies like Instagram or TikTok use to sequence photos and videos and restrict our children. Since 2018, the World Health Organization considers screens and video games to be a real addiction, and I think we don’t take it seriously.

-Do the strategies you present in your presentations make it easier for you to attract attention?

– I am from a teaching profession with children, and I have transferred this way of working to conversations with older people, and I have seen that adults also participate in these fun challenges. Later, I realized the importance of contexts and the last moment is very important when finishing a presentation or a class. The importance of that final climax is crucial to the perception that remains in the mind of the listener, in the person or in the student, even if it is an entire hour or a quarter. This is not something I invented.

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