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The Gaucho Gazette

Fidget Phenomenon

What do you do to pay attention during class? Every student has their way of learning more efficiently. Perhaps you listen to some of your favorite tunes or focus on taking organized notes. If you prefer to fidget, it is very likely you have heard about the new fidget toy craze.

Photo by Katie Marr

Photo by Katie Marr

Zach McGunagle

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The popular fidget devices are made to help the user focus during their everyday tasks at work or school. With this new craze, however, it is important to understand the science behind fidgeting and if a fidget toy is something the average student or employee should invest in.

Counselor Julie Powaser keeps a fidget cube at her desk at all times for students to use while discussing grades or sensitive topics. She explains why she purchased the cube, and how it could be useful to students.

“I like having little things for students to fidget with in my office. I’m a new counselor here and students who don’t know me and come in and are trying to talk about something a little bit more complex and challenging than the typical grades talk, something more personal. Sometimes it’s easier when students have something to fidget with while they talk, especially because they are just getting to know me. I’m not very well researched on them but my husband has ADHD. I just  found that if he has something to fidget with while he’s talking to you or interacting with you, or even just listening, it stops him from needing  to get up and pace around the room and things like that,” said Powaser.

Thinking back to junior high, you might remember one of your teachers giving you a test to determine what type of learner you are. Teachers often do this in order to accommodate their students different subconscious learning methods. There are three different types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. If you scan the QR code at the bottom of the page with Snapchat, you can take a quick quiz to see what kind of learner you are.

Understanding your own learning style will help you decide if a fidget toy is right for you. If you got placed in the kinesthetic learning category, you might benefit from carrying a fidget device around with you. If you were placed in the auditory or visual category, having something to fidget with might not be a necessity. However, regardless of your learning style, other brain conditions can determine whether or not a fidget toy would be beneficial. For example, fidgeting is often akin to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and other mental disorders related to attention span and hyperactivity. This is because people with these conditions find it difficult to pay attention during everyday tasks. Even if you are a visual learner – if you struggle with ADD or ADHD, fidgeting can be helpful in your learning process. Psychology teacher Jon Simon gave his input on different learning styles and how they are utilized by students.

“Different people learn with different modalities,  so a lot of schooling is either auditory or visual, we write stuff, we say stuff, students take notes and learn, and there are some students that learn best kinesthetically, which means using their body and being in motion. Also, a lot of people have some kind of attention deficit disorder, which means they either pay attention to too many things at once and can’t focus or they zero in on one thing and tune everything else out. So in both of those cases, either kinesthetic learners or attention deficit, fidgeting or keeping your hands busy can help keep your focus on other things so that you can hear or see information,” said Simon.

Fidget toys are pretty fun to use, regardless of your learning style. With the vast amount of them being made, they aren’t hard to find.

Student Q&A

Tim Nguyen, 10

Where did you purchase the fidget device?

I got it on Amazon.

Why did you purchase it?

I got it because whenever I’m in class, I get really bored. I tend to fall asleep when I sit there.

Does it help you pay attention?

Yes.

Do you think it helps reduce stress?

I don’t know about it reducing stress. I think it helps more with doing something instead of falling asleep.

Would you recommend it to others? Why?

Yeah I would. I think it would help everyone pay attention more in class than be on their phones and dozing off.

Annalea Hanakeawe, 11

 

Where did you purchase the fidget device?

My parents bought it for me online.

Why did you purchase it?

I got it because I like to fidget in class. I usually play with a pen and that kind of thing just helps me concentrate.

Does it help you pay attention?

Sometimes, it depends. If I’m listening to a teacher it’s easier for me to fidget under the desk, but if I’m writing or typing I don’t use it.

Do you think it helps reduce stress?

I don’t know if it helps reduce stress, but it does calm me.

Would you recommend it to others? Why?

Yeah I would recommend it to people who have trouble paying attention, or playing with things randomly on their desk.

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Fidget Phenomenon