I've always been a doodler. When attending meetings, or as a student in school, I doodled in most classes. In his book, Arts With The Brain In Mind, Jensen suggests allowing students to doodle during class. More than that, he seems to be suggesting that teachers ought to encourage doodling, illustrating, and mind-mapping during class as a way to better reflect on the student's learning. I think this is a good idea.
I think doodling can help in a couple of ways. Doodling is one way to give a visual representation of what is being learned. But more importantly, drawing/doodling engages our brains - and wakes them up. Rather than distract us from learning, it may serve to help us better concentrate on what's being taught. Doodling can not only help visual learners keep focus, but it can help kinesthetic learners too. It's not so much the visual aspect that's at play here, but the fact that of being engaged in a physical activity that helps students focus and concentrate.
I particularly like this doodling idea of Jensen's because as a visual learner, I've always used symbols and drawings to help me in my learning. I've even developed my own codes in musical notation that remind me of certain guitar licks or musical inflections when I'm learning a song. If I can create a visual of something, I can usually remember the thing that it represents.
The brain is an interesting and marvelous thing. I suppose some will be a bit tentative in allowing students to doodle during lessons. But it's something to consider. Often, students get lost in day dreams. When that happens, we have lost them - they are "someplace else." But with doodling, the brain is engaged, alert, and receptive. Just the very thing we want in our students when we're teaching.
Your thoughts are most welcome.