Chapter 14Developing Focused Attention and Motivation

When Michael was in elementary school in the late 1960s, teachers valued one thing in particular: focus. His second grade teacher, Mrs. Caplan, would frequently raise her hand to the sky and say, “Children, pay attention!” Positive reinforcement was doled out for settling down and concentrating on the task at hand. “Michael may have a merit,” she might declare, to a brief squeal of delight, but only once he had stopped talking to classmates, removed his attention from a friend's artfully smuggled comic book, and folded his hands neatly on top of the desk. Now the class was ready to receive the next lesson she had planned.

Though the two of us (Michael and Lisa) are from different generations, ...

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