Students’ attention can be difficult to obtain, especially in a culture of social media and technology. As teachers, we are always seeking ways to get and maintain our students’ focus and attention so they can comprehend what is presented and master the material. Following are a few suggestions for doing this!
• Greet students warmly at the start of each class. Do so by standing in the classroom doorway or front of the classroom when they arrive, making eye contact with each student and acknowledging their arrival to class.
• Have an opening line for the start of each lesson, similar to a topic sentence in a paragraph to capture students’ interest and attention from the beginning. Give them a reason to want to listen.
• Use students’ names when asking questions about the material you are presenting. “The branches of the government, Kim, are?” “Mark, what equation would you set-up to find the length of the hypotenuse?” “The number of chambers of the heart, Allison, is what?”
• Walk around the room when teaching. Maintain eye contact with students throughout your presentation.
• Interject various partner or small group exercises during classes with students to make learning enjoyable.
• Create some activity or play a game during class on the topic being presented.
• Don’t be afraid to use your personality in a class by telling a joke or two, wearing clothing or a hat that relates to what you are teaching, and/or playing appropriate music in the background that fits the topic. • Ask short and/or thought-provoking questions of your students throughout your classroom presentation to maintain their attention. • Have students create a mind map of what they are learned at the end of class.
• Dim the lights and have a “movie and popcorn day” by showing a DVD or online presentation during class on the current course topic being taught.
• Move the class to a different location on occasion; such as outdoors, in the library or a different classroom. Be sure to have permission from the school’s administration.
• Change student seating periodically.
• Rearrange the classroom a couple of times during the semester to change the angle at which students view your presentation.
Carol Wood is the Founder & CEO of Total Learning Concepts. Visit www.totallearningconcepts.com or call 770-381-5958 for information about their tutorial and test preparation services and accredited non-traditional private school.