A wonderful quote about education from William James:
"The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence."
-- in Principles of Psychology
This is exactly what I believe, and what I try to do in my teaching. Every thing we do in class is designed to help the students be more attentive, more truly aware of what they are doing at the moment they are doing it-- whether it's reading, writing, listening, or speaking. A truly attentive person is a truly successful -- and happy -- person.