How to get students attention without yelling? The answer may vary depending on the influence of different factors such as motivation, emotion, time of day or type of task. It is necessary to clear the understanding of this basic psychological process and its use in the classroom, to harmonize teaching with the real capacity of students.
How to get students attention without yelling?
We would like to raise a couple of key issues, such as the relationship of attention to innovation methodologies in the classroom and the importance of the first moments of the class. Finally, a series of tips are proposed to improve the functioning of the class, taking into account a series of simple ideas.
Attention in the classroom and active teaching methodologies
Regarding the analysis of how the use of attention in the classroom develops over time, a research paper analyzed the use of different teaching methods in the classroom.
It measured the moments of attention, carelessness and discrimination of the students. Students could press a button each time they had experienced a period of inattention. This study showed three main findings:
- First, the duration of the attention periods was approximately 1 minute.
- Secondly, the attention periods were more frequent than the investigation had found so far. For 10 minutes, the attention showed several “peaks” of attention throughout class periods of 10 minutes. A first peak 30 seconds after starting, another at 4.5 minutes another at 7 minutes and another at 9 minutes.
- Third, the researchers found a positive relationship between levels of attention and active teaching methodologies. During the sessions with active teaching, the attention periods were greater and more numerous than during the sessions based on the master class.
The beginning of the class is key
According to Jesús C Guillén, creator of the School with Brain website is best remembered what happens at the beginning, so the beginning of the class seems like a critical moment. Traditionally, the first minutes of the classes are used to correct the duties of the previous day. However, they should be used to introduce or analyze the most innovative and relevant concepts.
It is this novelty that arouses curiosity that activates the attention and guidance networks of the student and that serves to open the focus of attention, not to maintain it. As an example that highlights the importance of curiosity in learning, we can start a class in the classic Socratic mode with a provocative question related to a real problem that is motivating and that allows the student to initiate a research process in which a protagonist feels active of the same.
During the beginning of the class, interest should be aroused. During half of it, the reflection could be facilitated through cooperative work and use the end to review the priority.
Recommendations to keep student’s attention during class
Next, we propose a series of tips collected from different authors with various ideas on how to improve the attention of students in the classroom.
1. Before giving some instructions, it is important to follow a routine to claim the attention of the students
According to a routine that could work very well would be: 1) Achieve total silence 2) Claim complete attention 3) Have the “five eyebrows” directed towards the teacher (the two eyebrows of the eyes, the two of the knees and the heart). Before the total silence, it is good to warn them that they are allowed to talk to each other but that we are going to give them a signal (to count loudly from one to three or to ring a bell) to stop talking. Always maintain a routine to manage time for study.
2. Start with a warm-up
Pose an exercise or a challenge on the board, organize teams of three students and ask them to work together and raise their hands when they have solved the problem, challenge, question or activity.
3. Introduce changes with cycles and stops, approximately every 15 minutes.
The ability to maintain sustained attention varies between 10 and 20 minutes, which implies that to increase the attention span of students, blocks that do not exceed 15 minutes should be used. This system facilitates the processing and consolidation of information.
4. Use the movement, so students are focused
In primary: Make applause and stomping patterns, accompanied by some song or verse. In high school: Create a rhythm by snapping your fingers and clapping. You serve as a model and students must repeat or echo your pattern. Vary the rhythm and intervals every 15-20 seconds.
5. Use small supervision strategies in downtime
For example, when they are giving each student a paper and this can cause downtime in which they begin to speak, they could read the assignments assigned for that day, summarize with an idea on a paper something that has just been seen in class as a way header or headline, etc.
6. If possible, project the remaining class time on a screen
7. Change the level and tone of voice during exposure
8. Ask a question or a challenge on the board
Ask them for summaries, headlines or headers of what they just heard in class (ex: What has been the most interesting thing about …?).
9. Use close examples, analogies or relevant metaphors
10. Control the difficulty level of the task
11- An excessive or a little difficulty will facilitate the appearance of inattention
12. Use humor
13. Variety stimulates attention
There is a great diversity of pedagogical strategies that can stimulate the brain and attract attention as long as they bring change and novelty. From the use by the teacher of metaphors, stories, exercises that proposal prediction, activities that require analyzing differences, debates, readings or videos to regular changes in the physical learning environment that constitutes the classroom and provides visual stimulation. The experience of the teacher will allow maintaining that required balance between the novel and the traditional so as not to cause inappropriate stress in the students.
14. Design the implementation of pauses so that an active game between tasks can be developed
15. Assess the level of difficulty.
When a child avoids work and disengages himself from homework constantly, ask him to assess the level of challenge of the activity on a scale of 1 to 10. If the child indicates that the difficulty is level 8 or greater, ask what could be done to that the difficulty of the task was level 2 or 3. This allows you to obtain information to reduce your level of frustration.
16. Chop tasks into parts
When the class or children with specific difficulties cannot do the homework. This will allow the child or class to perform part of the task, pause, and finish it again.
We hope that some of these strategies will help you improve the level of the student’s attention in your classroom.