Scurrying eyes

This is an interesting claim about people’s  instinctive approach to texts.  If true – and I believe it is – language instructors should use it to the fullest. 

Think about your behaviour in the first few seconds of landing on a new website. Your eyes scurry about, picking up visual clues and quickly assessing “where you are”. This is a reflex; we can’t help ourselves. Hand a colleague a report or business magazine, and you see the same thing in action – they will flick through the pages, before (possibly) starting at the beginning.

Why do we do this? We know we have a magazine (or whatever) in our hands. Why do we need to conduct this quick scan? I believe we are answering the same need as when we visit a new website – we are seeing “where we are”; meeting that deep and inate need to know “where we stand“.


4 thoughts on “Scurrying eyes

  1. I’m not sure how instinctive I think it is. My students often had to be taught to look around, even in English, rather than reading in a straight line, and I’ve seen some of them (the uncurious ones) who will just stare at the front page of a handout without leafing through. But I’ve read that web reading is inherently more like browsing than normal reading — so perhaps it will have a beneficial effect?

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