Over the years, I’ve noticed that my students’ attention spans have decreased. This is a trend that is unsettling for educators and educational stakeholders. I have not changed my expectations. However, I have noticed that students lack the stamina to read longer books, sustain attention for long periods to watch educational video clips, and become easily frustrated when learning becomes challenging. There may be several causes, such as long periods of overstimulation from technology, lack of sleep or hydration, and the student’s home environment. Regardless, there are many simple ways educators and stakeholders can help increase students’ attention spans.
Find engaging materials –
my students devour graphic novels (in my day, we called these comic books). High-interest books and nonfiction are also great resources. Encourage reading of captions with these types of materials. Be mindful of the time spent on technology and encourage a wide variety of materials. There is a big difference between entertaining and engaging students.
Teachers may want to be both, but engaging students should be the focus for educators.
Incorporating movement studies-
shows the use of movement increases learning. Effective teachers use various engagement strategies, including movement. For example, the students could give a thumbs up for their answers. Not only is this assessing student learning, but it also shows that they are paying attention.
Meet them where there at-
and develop strategies to increase the amount of sustained time reading to build stamina for longer reading passages. Help students find a character or topic in a series to sustain interest. It should be noted that many authors are also creating graphic novels to entice students to read their novels.
Take brain breaks–
offering short pauses in learning encourages students to be on task. Start with several breaks throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration and decreasing the break length. Another idea to promote goal setting is to involve students in setting these goals to increase learning times before having breaks.
Develop hands-on activities–
this learning provides additional opportunities for students to learn and engage with other learners through activities. If students are engaged, they lose track of time. I love it when my students say, “we just got here!”
I feel like I have done my job.
Create real-life experiences–
soft learning skills such as cooperation can help students see the purpose of education and can increase stamina. Having students collaborate and discover solutions to problems also increases higher-level thinking skills. As a class, work together to solve a problem then students will see an actual application to their learning.
Make it personal–
have students explore their interests. By developing personalized learning, students are more likely to engage. Remember to set goals and expectations and set aside time for “check-in” meetings.
Effective teachers hold students accountable for their learning by utilizing resources and strategies. Hopefully, over time, students will have an increased desire to learn and develop strategies for staying on task. However, suppose our ultimate goal is to develop lifelong learners and improve attention. In that case, we need to work together by helping our future leaders develop the skills they need to be successful.
Are you ready to learn more about how to enhance instructional quality by implementing educational technology? Then, reach out to Agile Education today!