Fidget spinners are all the rage among kids and some adults on Aruba. Approximately 8 centimeters, the handheld device spins like a windmill and emits a faint humming noise. As a teacher I see numerous new gadgets come in and out of the classroom from Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Go to virtual reality goggles, but fidget spinners have completely taken over and I wonder if it is here to stay especially in our educational system.
Firstly, articles and YouTube videos claim that fidget spinners can help students pay attention in class especially if they have anxiety, depression, ADHD or autism. However, this is not backed up by research says Health Day, an American site with the standard for trustworthy health information. Health Day concludes that retailers are branding the product as a stress reliever purposefully to get sales. They incorrectly base research done that students who fidget do better during test taking than students who don’t, however, this is based on students fidgeting in a certain manner e.g. moving in their chairs, spinning, moving their tables.
Many American schools such as Clark County Schools are banning fidget spinners from the classrooms and are calling it “unnecessary distractions”. Other schools permit fidget spinners for use before school, after school, or during non-class time like recess or lunch. Although, fidget spinners could be used as a reward for students who have completed their assignments. However, this cannot be a distraction for the other students who are still busy with their work.
All in all, some say fidget spinners are a new fad and their appeal will pass in time just as the ones that came before them e.g. stress balls, slap bracelets, Pokémon Go. Having seen fidget spinners during school time I can understand how fidget spinners could be disruptive especially in the wrong hands, but if used in a rewarding way students could be motivated in a positive way to pay attention, to finish their work or to stay in their seats until the bell rings.
Lily has been a copywriter from an early age. She has also self-published her first book in 2015, a poetry book titled ‘Lost Love Poems’. An English teacher by day and author by night. Lily is currently studying to attain a BA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Windesheim college located in Zwolle, the Netherlands. Currently, Lily teaches English to EPB HATO students in Oranjestad, Aruba.