Video Transcript: Attention

[opens on John, a second grade student, in interview with Dr. Mel Levine]
Dr. Levine: Do you concentrate, you think, on the right things at the right time?

John: Sometimes I go off track like Pokemon, [onscreen label "John, second grade Student"] Stuff like that.

Dr. Levine: uh-huh

John: When I'm doing, when my teacher's doing a read-aloud?

Dr. Levine: uh-huh

John: I just go off! Take my Pokemon cards out of my pocket

Dr. Levine: uh-huh

John: Start looking at 'em

Dr. Levine: Right. And then you miss what was going on in class a little bit, I guess.

John: [pauses] Sometimes.

[cut to John in class]
Dr. Levine voice-over: You know, we used to talk a lot about kids having a short attention span? But I think we've moved beyond that now and come to recognize that it isn't so much how long your attention span is as [cut to another distracted student in class] it is how well-matched the duration of your attention is to the target at hand. And there are--some of the same children who don't concentrate long enough on certain things concentrate too long on other things. [cut to Dr. Levine] So it isn't so much that they can't concentrate long enough, it's that they never quite apply the right amount of time to the right input.
[fade to black]

[cut to card:
Saliency Determination
Depth and Detail of Processing
Cognitive Activation
Focal Maintenance
Satisfaction level (highlighted)]

[fade to Dr. Levine interviewing Ben, a fifth grade student]
Dr. Levine: Do you think you move around a lot?

Ben: Yeah, I squirm, um, a bunch.

Dr. Levine: Uh-huh. Why do you do that?

Ben: I don't know, I just seem to have excess energy all the time.

Dr. Levine: Uh-huh. And squirming is a way of getting--

Ben: Yeah.

Dr. Levine: --rid of it. Well, that makes sense. Um, there's a particular characteristic that some kids who have problems with their attention or squirm a lot have, and I'm going to teach you a new word you've never heard, and I want you to react to it. The word is "insatiable." It means they need excitement all the time.

Ben: Ah...

Dr. Levine: And--

Ben: That would probably describe me pretty well.

Dr. Levine: Yeah. And insatiable kids, if there's no excitement around, [cut to Ben] if things are kind of boring--

Ben: [pretends to fall asleep snoring loudly]

Dr. Levine: Either that or they can create the excitement.

Ben: [laughs] That sounds a lot like me.

Dr. Levine: [smiling] How would a kid do that?

[cut to Ben]
Ben: Ummmmm... By bouncing around the classroom doing weird things or sitting in a trash can. All of which I've been known to do.

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