We’re programmed to be curious and wonder what is going on around us, meaning it can often be easy to lose track of what you’re doing.
So, put that same situation in a classroom full of children and it can be difficult to keep each pupil’s attention.
Rowan Learning Trust’s Lead Practitioner, Nigel White, gives his top tips to keep students focused in class.
I mean this in every sense. If students do not understand why they are studying a topic then they will switch off. The topic must always be related to the individual life of the student even if it seems very distant (for example if the topic is terrorism or Buddhism and the student has not been affected by either of these). The relevance of the qualification or level is also very important to share with the students.
Just as in life, if people do the same things it gets boring so take a risk and try things out even if you don’t feel 100% comfortable with the activity in relation to your skill set. This keeps students on their toes! Don’t always rely on ‘hands up’ for answers too!
We all like to feel that we are good at something so building up the skills of the students is pivotal to keeping the focus and concentration levels in the maximum zone. Preparation for tasks provides students with an easy win sometimes but this must be balanced with the right level of challenge too.
4. Personal Honesty
Be prepared to share personal stories with students of life experience. Sometimes these may be failures or funny stories but this shows you to be human and if students can relate to you and feel secure in your presence then they will take risks and work hard for you.
Find out the triggers of motivation for the students you teach, then use them! Things such as competition, creation, fun, challenge and choice could easily scare or please any student, so provide variety as mentioned above and treat people like the individuals they are.