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Old 09-25-2013, 08:41 PM
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John Lamb John Lamb is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Portland, OR
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Default Re: Any tips for 'useful fidgeting'?

Originally Posted by leanneislearningtodrum View Post
Hello all!
I tend to move a lot, and get restless waiting in line, on the bus, stuff like that. I do what I call 'useful fidgeting', which is pretty much fidgeting with purpose. I tap dance, but there's not too much I can do with that in public and remain low key (ta daaaaaa!)

Since I've started to drum I've been able to subtly practice some coordination stuff. My favourite useful fidget is to practice foot ostentatos while i am sitting or standing, which I can do with nobody noticing.

I'm curious to hear if others fit in sneaky practice to pass the time while they're out and about. I'm working on a post for my blog about this, and would love some other ideas to share (before I quote anyone from here I'll be sure to PM to get permission first).

So, does anyone do the same? What do you do?
:) Leanne
I talk about this the first day in all of my group classes!

What you are talking about is really a revolution is learning theory, that is accompanying a revolution in neuroscience. The new big idea is that body itself does quite a bit of thinking. Movement, in and of itself, seems to help thinking. For example, students given a math test on a clipboard and told to walk around the room while answering the questions score a full grade point higher. People asked to remember things remember BETTER when they are doodling unrelated things than when they are sitting still and being quiet.

There are many such examples. Movement is good for thinking. The trouble, as you brought up, and as another poster said, arises when your actions interfere with another student. Also, there is a social aspect - if you are fidgeting it conveys to the speaker that you don't care what they have to say, that you'd just rather be somewhere else. This more than anything is where the sit-still-and-be-quiet teaching philosophy comes from.

Unfortunately, learning suffers from it. I've developed my own suite of tricks to fidget secretly. I like to tap with my toes, tongue, fingers. As you said, it is a great way to work on stuff. Once in American History class, I was silently working on a guanguanco pattern that for some reason was giving me fits. I realized I was playing the pattern right and was so happy I *nearly* shouted "I GOT IT!!" out loud. Good thing I didn't. (I still got an A in the class, btw)

Interestingly, there is a new type of learning tool called "fidgets".

These come from Special Ed, for kids with special needs. Many of them are designed to provide extra sensory stimulation, and that is another component to learning that applies here. People seem to need differing amounts of sensory stimulation... some need more while others need less in order to place them in the ideal zone for best learning.
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