Monday, November 28, 2011

It's About TIme: Temporal Sequential Processing and Telling Jokes

Time is a concept that grabs our attention from birth and doesn't let go.

Time to be fed... time to be changed..."are we there YET?", " WHEN is my birthday?"... "is it Christmas already?... " Time seems to drag when we are kids and fly by as adults. And, for all our fascination with time - it is one of the most difficult concepts for us to grasp.

According to Jean Piaget, child psychologist, time is an abstract concept that kids don't truly grasp until approximately eight years of age. Words relating to time are also one of the most difficult for kids to grasp (soon, yet, when, almost).

Even as adults, we are constantly wrestling with time. We juggle time schedules in our daily lives and are fascinated with studies and stories of time and relativity,  time travel, and time seen through space and multiple dimensions.  Adults, be they scientists, physicians, psychologists, writers, musicians,or fashionistas all wrestle with how to turn back the effects of time.

Time is literally all around us and effects just about everything we do.  Temporal sequential processing is all about how we recognize and follow time. It refers to the skills and steps we take to accomplish things in a given time, place, and order.

Telling a story or a joke, for example, is all about temporal sequential processing.  We have to understand the order (in time) that events take place, twist the story so the punchline is unexpected, and deliver that punch line with the correct timing (pausing for listeners to think and then zing them).

Notice how Ray pauses before the punchline and moves from topic to topic - they all relate but you don't quite know where he's going until he zings you.

For joke telling tips here are some links:

BUT Temporal sequential processing is involved in a whole lot more than just telling jokes and stories.  You need solid temporal sequential processing to function in just about everything you do:
  • Knowing when to wake up to get to work/school on time - (knowing how long it takes to dress, eat breakfast, commute, etc.)
  • Knowing how long various chores/tasks/activities will take as the day's schedule (and required tasks) evolves and knowing how much to schedule (or not schedule) given the day's agenda.
  • Setting aside enough travel time to get to appointments/classes on time.
  • Cooking is ALL about temporal sequential processing - from following the directions in the right order, to knowing how the oven heats and how long to mix, stir, bake and fry.
  • In school there are even more demands:
    • Social studies:  kids must sequences of events over time that shaped a particular individual or enabled a specific event /plan to succeed;  
    • Math: students must understand WHEN to apply different solutions and different sequences of solutions
    • Science:  experiments in science are all about timing and following sequences of actions
    • Writing:  students must keep track of the sequence of the story or content while keeping track of spelling, and grammar (past, present, future).
How to help strengthen temporal sequential skills:
  • Keep a calendar handy and fill in your daily /weekly / monthly responsibilities
  • Checklists for chores, assignments, etc. 
  • Install good word processing programs on computers to help check for grammar and spelling
  • Consider software programs that help plan out writing sequences, organize notes, even map quests that will give you estimates of how long it will take to get somewhere
  • Play games that require sequencing and timing (tennis. for example, is great because timing is important in vollying)
  • Cooking and baking are great ways to reinforce sequences of steps and time
  • Comics and graphic novels are GREAT ways to work on sense of time, sequence and order of events (just following the panels reinforces following sequence and time).
  • For social studies in school, make timelines to help visually reinforce the sequence of events as well as how closely they played out  within a given time frame.

Me?  I am not a good joke-teller and I have had to add a lot of structure to my day and my life to handle time efficiently - get to where I need to be on time, meet deadlines, and juggle home, parenting, and work responsibilities.  I keep calendars, set my clocks a few minutes fast (even though I know they are fast, it still helps me) and I leave the joke telling to others.

How do you deal with time?


  1. Gosh, that's a lot to know about time!
    New follower from Get Connected Tuesday hop. Stop by & follow me, too. Growing Old With Grace
    Hugs, GraceinAZ

  2. I always wear a watch (feel naked and lost without it) and have three calendars going at one time. I guess having been in the education field, my life was so structured (8:55 - opening exercises, 9:05 - handwriting practise while I check planners & homework, 9:20 - Language Arts, 9:50 - Math, 10:30 - recess etc etc) and now I can't get out of the habit. One calendar has my tutoring students on it, one has personal meetings and appointments, and one is just to see the date. I also take lists to do grocery or personal shopping. Thinking about it now, it's no wonder my brain feels full to bursting! Wonderful post with lots to think about.

    abcw team

  3. I can't tell a joke to save my life./

    My 7.5 y.o doesn't understand time. specifically, she doesn't understand that if she goes to bed at 9 instead of 8:20, she'll be tired in the morning, but that we still have the same amount of time to get ready for school/work (or less as I drag her out of bed).

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. I do not need a watch as I am accurate to 10 mins...but telling a joke....useless.
    Jane x

  5. That's what I love about my Dad, he tells hilarious jokes all the TIME!

    School's Thanksgiving Feast

  6. Following by from Blog it Forward to say hello.
    Have a great day!

  7. I am a complete wash-out at joke telling. It seems I can never remember the punch line correctly.
    I need my calendar and my watch to keep me going.
    The sequential thinking is my mantra.

  8. Hi, follow you via The Monster Hop

  9. Good tips! My daughter refers to everything in the past as "yesterday". "Remember yesterday? when you said that?" It could be last week or last month, but to her it was yesterday... :P

  10. Time? I use it, as quickly as possible in the most non-specific way. :) I've never been able to stash a punch line in a place where it's readily available so I moved on to other things. Interesting and provocative post, to be sure!

  11. Some philosophers believe that linear time is a manmade concept and that past, present and future are woven together like in a ball of twine. But I sometimes wonder, if time is so precious, why we are always trying to kill it?

  12. We all have to same amount of Time each week, 168 hours. How we use Those 168 hours of Time is for each of us to decide. SomeTimes we say, "My how The Time flew by Today," whereas, other days we say, "Time went by so slowly Today." Now someTimes I wonder why Time flies, and other Times it goes so slowly. "My ain't it funny, how Time drifts away."

  13. After reading Rogers commentary on Typos, I noticed I made a Typo, I meant ... We all have THE same amount of Time each week.

  14. Timely post, sorry for the weak pun. I'm not very good at telling jokes. I always enjoy your posts.

  15. I think I have a burp in that part of my brain! I can mess up a joke when speaking... but the other processing I use to not have much problems with... except for grammar & reading out loud... I would jumble up the words I was reading (not good for spelling either) I think I processed what I was reading faster than my mouth could spit it out!

  16. Yup plenty of pauses as it's talking so long to load, my internet is really lagging perhaps it's telling me its time to call it a night.

  17. Great post! New follower plz follow me back

  18. great post - I once read somewhere that they did an experiment with people measuring time. The older the participants were the less they estimated a minute as having passed - and that is apparently why as we age we feel time goes faster.

  19. Time is such a strange concept to learn and try to measure! Great article.

  20. Our concept of time is an interesting study, interesting points of how we have come to manage it. I seem to remember that the idea of time dragging and being bored is a good thing for children because it stimulates the imagination. I can judge time if I am on a hike, so many clues and always aware of the surroundings but if engrossed in an interesting project then hours can go by without noticing. Think that may link into one of your other posts about concentration...

  21. I used this post--and the links therein--to add to our homeschooling day.

    We looked up Steven Wright as an example of "staying in character" for a joke (or an entire act).

    My favorite is George Carlin--not appropriate for them yet--but there's a "clean" version of his "Stuff" bit on YouTube.

    Having just finished "Right Ho, Jeeves" and making a daily appointment with Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, humor is essential to my life. Thank you for a mini-tutorial on a useful, real life skill.