Are you feeling inept and ineffective because your students aren’t listening to you? Don’t worry. It isn’t always about you. Kids have a short attention span because of the many distractions they have in their lives. They focus on too many things outside the home that they often lose sight of what’s important—pulling their grades up. The attention span of a person varies by age, interest, and task.
Luckily, attention spans are said to be elastic and adjustable. You can do certain activities found on web pages such as studentreasures.com/teachers-lounge/lesson-plans/fourth-grade/ to improve your students’ mental focus. They can concentrate better on the tasks at hand if they are interested in them.
You need to stop being boring with your teaching methods. Imagine this: Children don’t have difficulty focusing on playing with other kids. They can play with their building blocks for hours at a time. So why can’t they focus on their worksheets? Because you’re stifling their creativity by making them write their names with a pen or pencil.
Be creative. Add a little oomph into your classroom activities. Instead of making them write their names using a pen, have them learn their ABCs by forming the letters with molding clay or building blocks.
Incorporate active play into your classroom routine. Stretching and doing jumping jacks for 10 to 15 minutes will exhaust your students hopefully. They can better focus on doing the activities when they’ve already exerted enough energy through physical activity. You can also make use of this excessive energy to teach ideas and concepts. You can ask your students to pretend-play characters in books you read in class.
Break your class schedule into periods where the students can have time to play and run around the classroom. Remember that a child has five minutes of attention span per year old. So if you’re teaching a class of six-year-olds, you have about 12 to 30 minutes of their attention. After that, they will fidget, play with their pencil, and look around the room. Make sure to take breaks so that the kids can play or eat snacks.
Do Memory Games
Memory games are great not only in improving the memory muscles but also in increasing concentration levels. You can play simple games of I-Spy or Simon Says. These games are designed to demand higher levels of concentration from the students. Otherwise, they won’t know what “Simon says” and will lose the game. They will improve their concentration levels and memory muscles by participating in the games.
Experts agree that the right environment will foster learning. Remove distracting objects from the kids’ viewpoints. If there’s a window in the classroom, cover this with drapes or curtains. It’s easy to be distracted by the things they see outside the classroom. Make sure that their desks are clean and free of visually enticing items they can play with.
Even when you’re an adult, paying attention can be difficult. When was the last time you sat in a meeting and didn’t fidget or check your phone? There are far too many distractions that make it hard for adults and children to focus on their tasks. Teachers must understand and accept this new challenge.