Every class has those few pupils who it is hard to gain the attention of throughout the day. At some points, it'll be just one or two, and then for harder and drier lessons it can sometimes feel like the whole class's attention has gone on holiday and left their empty shells in front of you, refusing to learn.
Here, we take a look at some novel ways to help pupils pay attention better in your classroom, sure to help any teacher in times of real frustration.
Nothing will make someone pay attention more than the worry that they might be asked what is going on and not know. Let it be known in your class that you'll regularly be looking for someone to recap the lesson so far so everyone can keep up, and the chances are, everyone will be paying attention so they don't end up looking like they weren't paying attention on the off chance their turn comes around.
When it comes to answering questions, have an item, a soft toy or the like, that gets passed randomly to the next person to answer. If pupils don't know they're next, but are aware they might well be, then the chances are they'll be listening in. Not only that, but they'll be far more likely to engage and think of answers before it comes to them, helping enhance learning throughout the lesson.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, attention spans will falter and you'll be in front of a class that was once working hard, but is now deep in a 30-person chat about who the best Kardashian is, or the like. The best way to tackle this is with a quick sensory gesture. Flashing the lights on and off will grab everyone's attention, and they're sure to know you're not best pleased quick as a flash.
Sounds like such a weird notion, but allowing pupils to text their answers to each other, which the recipient then has to read out, is a really great way to engage everyone. Pupils are basically glued to their phones these days anyway, so why not use this to your advantage? Besides, most people are probably faster with a phone than a pen these days anyway, so you're likely to get through a lot more!
If it feels like you're losing the class' attention, say late on a Friday afternoon, why not take the chance to be a little bit different and help them engage in a different way? Leave the classroom and take the kids for a stroll around the playing fields for a while, all the time keeping the same conversation from the classroom alive to keep people engaged.
March 31, 2016