Best Way to Encourage Your Student’s Motivation and Concentration

Keeping students on task and interested can be a real challenge, espe­cially if the subject matter isn’t very stimulating or interesting to them. On average, we can concentrate solidly on a task for around 15 to 20 minutes before our attention begins to stray. Children with a learning disorder may only be able to hold their concentration for half that amount of time.

Good teaching practice suggests that around 10 to 20 minutes spent on one specific topic is just enough to hold student interest. Keeping a student motivated and on task is linked to your monitoring and assess­ment skills as a teacher.

Motivate Student’s Best Way to Encourage Your Student’s Motivation and Concentration

Top tips for encouraging motivation and concentration

  •  Ensure that students feel properly involved in the lessons.
  •  Make the learning process fun and enjoyable.
  •  Be a positive and enthusiastic teacher.
  •  Use a variety of teaching styles and learning resources.
  •  Create a positive learning environment.
  •  Ensure that lessons are varied and stimulating.
  •  Give frequent, positive and accessible feedback.
  •  Provide opportunities for success.
  •  Value the students’ contributions and opinions.
  •  Help students to find personal meaning in what they are learn­ing, and understand the bigger picture of education.
  •  Provide opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning.

Even the best teacher can lose the interest of their class occasionally. You could simply demand their attention by giving a clear command, but for variation why not try one of these different ideas?

  •  A non-verbal signal such as raising your arm, pointing or stand­ing on one leg will pique their interest and quieten a noisy class.
  •  Using visual aids such as colour-coded cards to indicate your expectations, for example red = stop what you are doing, amber = you are getting too noisy.
  •  Writing the names of any students who are not on task on the board – they will soon question why they have been singled out, thus redirecting their attention back to you.
  •  Having a ‘minutes wasted’ box on the board – every time you feel you are not being listened to or the class goes off task, add another minute to the box. A penalty can be enforced if you wish: for example, every minute wasted in class is a minute the class must work in complete silence.
  •  Pausing, looking and waiting for longer than is really necessary will make it clear that you expect everyone to be on task and lis­tening before you continue.
Motivate Student’s 1 Best Way to Encourage Your Student’s Motivation and Concentration
  •  If you are using an interactive whiteboard or overhead projec­tor, consider the use of an ‘attention banner’ – a bright and colourful random image or phrase (it does not have to be linked to the subject matter) that can be displayed quickly on-screen. This will prompt students to query the image, bringing their attention back to you.

Remember: once you have gained their attention you only have a short space of time in which to keep it ensure commands and instructions are clear and concise, don’t waffle!

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