Preserving attention in young pupils

Preserving attention in young pupils


How can a teacher maintain children interested in his or her class? In this article we will see some very useful teaching tips for keeping student’s attention and thus achieving a successful English class. The purpose is mainly to make you more aware of some reasons why children might not be listening to you or doing the activity they should be, as well as provide some solutions to the problems you may experience in classrooms.

Why do they lose their concentration?

There are a variety of issues that make children lose their attention, such as:

  • They do not understand the activity:

Always try to make demonstrations rather than asking if they understood what they have to do. (“Do you have to colour the big or the little tree?” Pointing the two drawings). Do not start giving instructions until you have complete silence in the class (they will rapidly tell each other to be quiet).

  • They do not know why they have to do an activity:

Let’s try to explain the purpose of the activity (“We will play a game to remember the colours we learnt yesterday”). Children will remind what the activity was done yesterday and they find out a connexion.

Happy pupils in classroom sitting at desks

  • The activity is boring:

First of all, think whether the activity is didactic and useful for infants, and whether they will enjoy it or not. This will help you to do lesson plans and to face any problems that may arise.

  • The activity is too easy or too challenging:

Divide them into groups: for the ones who finish too quickly, you need to have prepared a more stimulating activity for them to be busy, and thus avoid any distraction. In contrast, you need to be sure the slowest group understood the activity and you will help them if necessary.

  • They are tired:

It is important to accommodate activities depending on the time you have the class: if it is the last class in the morning and lunch time is coming, or their first class in the morning and they just want to sleep. These are influencing factors which can distract them, and you need to prepare the exactly games for children to be alert.

How to get their attention

Have a specific signal easy to remember. If you shout to get their attention, children will shout louder. For very young students, it is as simple as putting your hand on your head and start talking without making any sound. They will start to watch you and try to hear what you are saying. Now you have their attention, go for it!

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