Children often struggle to pay attention. Moreover, when assigned a task, children view it as challenging or complex, giving up before even trying. If you notice a child regularly losing focus in the classroom during challenging tasks, then here are some strategies to help increase their attention span and improve their overall outcome of tasks.
Teachers can quickly adopt the following classroom strategies to spark attention in the classroom.
- Include Physical Activity: It is often seen that children struggling with attention do better when they are given brief breaks for active play. Taking a break to play outdoor games, breaking up learning into chunks, bouncing on an exercise ball, or providing a quick stretching or jumping jacks break in the classroom, etc., can help the attention-challenged student stay attentive. Fifteen minutes of active play before a challenging task can help a child stay more focused and engaged.
- Have “Attention Breaks”: Teach the children what “paying attention” means and how it should look. Practice attentive behaviour in a non-threatening, non-crucial manner during the school day. Further, at periodic intervals, take the necessary practice attention breaks. Use a timer or an app on the phone to have a signal off during the work period. Please make sure the child mark whether they were paying attention or not. This will help train a student’s brain to understand what attention looks like and how often they are tempted to disengage.
- Adjust Time Frames: As a teacher, it is essential to understand the children’s attention span. So when you find out that no matter what you do, the kids can’t stay on task, it is time to break content into smaller time intervals. Always remember that children can concentrate on one task for two to five minutes per year old.
Additionally, be cautious about lengthy lectures with children with short attention spans. These kids need to be kept involved with the material. Therefore make it a habit to ask for responses regularly on the subject matter you are discussing with these kids.
- Remove Visual Distractions: You need to be aware when a child is struggling with a difficult task. If so, then clutter in the classroom or on the desk to make it possible to keep their brain where it needs to be. Further, remove unnecessary clutter and visual experiences from the classroom. This will give the child fewer excuses for not concentrating on the task at hand.
- Play Memory Games: Memory can help improve focus, and it is not just a muscle; memory games can help children focus in a fun way. This way, they will be able to concentrate when something challenging is presented before them. For this, add memory games to classroom electronics to boost this type of play during free time.
- Rate (and accordingly change) Tasks: If you find that a child is constantly avoiding work or seems overly distracted, then ask them to rate the level of challenge found in the activity on a scale of 1 to 10. If the child specifies the activity as an eight or higher, ask them what could be done to make the task a two or three. This way, you will get an exciting and excellent insight into what can be done to help the student decrease their level of frustration.
- Break Tasks into Pieces: If the strategies listed above don’t work, look at the task itself. Ask yourself if you can break it into smaller chunks. Additionally, make sure the child has focused long enough to perform part of the task. Also, ask them to take a break and then continue to the project the finish. Children with a lower attention span could perform the requested task faster with this strategy if they tried to finish it in just one sitting.
Some helpful classroom management strategies
Nobody is perfect- neither the teachers nor the children. Each of us will make mistakes, but there will be numerous times when you lose students’ attention and are not on task. For such occasions, some classroom management strategies will help you to regain the attention of the class. Some of these classroom management strategies are as follows:
- Walk around the classroom when the students are working. They are less likely to go off-task when you are constantly watching and available.
- Stand next to or behind the individuals who are not attentive, or move your position to a strategic point where everyone can see and hear you.
- Have a code word in the class. Choose a word before you start a lesson and display it on the board. Tell each student they need to pay special attention and call out this word at times during the lesson.
- Silence is the key. It is an old but effective trick where you are asked to stand in silence at the front of the class and wait for others to stop talking.
Some kids struggle with attention more than others. As a teacher, your responsibility is to take measures to help improve concentration for your students. It will take some extra thought and work on your part to bring significant change for your students. Finally, it is essential to show enthusiasm for teaching if we want your students to be motivated and engaged in our lessons. In the end, the more animated and lively you are about the responsibility and lesson, the more the students will want to learn from you and join you.