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How to get children’s attention: A guide for teachers 

Grabbing the attention of children is not an easy task. Be it getting sleepy, checking out the neighbour’s new watch or simply scribbling in the friend’s book, children have infinite ways to amuse themselves, especially when their attention is sought. 

The lack of attention can lead to them missing out on important lessons and in the long run affect their attention span. Teachers have to use strategic methods for the undivided attention of the children. These are some ways on “how to help a child focus in the class”, but the teachers themselves should personalise the perfect answer for their classroom. Options to gaining attention are never any less creative. 

The teacher has to be alert at all times and ensure that all the students are attentive. When one feels a student is absent-minded, reach out to the student. We should always avoid the usage of harsh language and practise a healthy and friendly tone with the students. Move towards the student and kindly remind them to pay attention. 

Moreover, one of the best ways to grab the attention of the entire class is by moving continuously while teaching. Though it is not possible when one has to use the board, staying static in the same position will decrease the children’s attention span. 

Use teaching aids 

Use pictures, videos, PowerPoint presentations, demonstrations, models to explain concepts. Hands-on experience will help a child focus in the classroom much more than simple lecturing. 

Even when one is reading from the text, the teacher should ensure to maintain eye contact with the students. This is to make them aware that you are concerned about them and that you want them to listen to your class. The children will give you more attention if so. 

Express- Using body language 

while teaching is a huge plus point. The children are curious beings and they can follow facial expressions very easily. We should try not to break their response and allow them to finish what they like to say when asked about something. The children should feel their opinions also matter. 

Use attention grabbers

There are multiple examples of attention grabbers all over the media. Use the ones you feel are appropriate for your classroom. Appeal to the children’s senses and use the colours, sound, smell and movements that will help the children focus. 

Sing a song 

There is nothing more interesting than a good, old, fun song. This could either be in the native language or that of the medium of communication. One can also teach the students a new song if the students are starting to get bored. With younger kids, asking them to move and dance along with the songs is also one of the best ideas.

When a class is hard to handle, the best way is to divide the students into smaller groups. It is important to let the children know you are all ears; this will gain their attention. 

Use call-and-responses

Chants and call-and-response are especially interactive ways to get kids’ attention. Whether it is clapping in a rhythm or having a code word that corresponds to action like raising their hands, these can easily attract the attention of the children. Some of the famous ones are “Eeny Meeny…Miny Mo!”, “Hocus Pocus…Everybody Focus!”, “All eyes on me…I’m all ears!”, “All set?… You bet!”, “L-I-S…T-E-N!”. Clap or tap in a pattern, to take a break from the mundane reading lesson. 

After a session of reading or writing, move on to some fun activities like games or storytelling. It is always better to take brief sessions with breaks than long ones where the children are not attentive. Teachers can bring a ping-pong ball to the class and try bouncing it to students if they are feeling bored. The game “Simon says” is also fun to attract students’ attention. Or try gaining attention with a quick jumping jacks session. 

Give clear instructions

The children have to be made aware of what is expected from them, be it being quiet or actively taking part in an activity. Ensure that you appreciate the student for the good work, be it how small and encourage everyone to try out the same. 

Instead of the monotonous reading of texts, ask questions randomly. Be sure to always address the children by their names. The teacher doesn’t always have to be serious. You can ask them informal questions related to the lessons or their thoughts on the topic to further create a session of interaction. 

Do what is not expected

Well, children will probably think you will continue teaching after you start it for 20 minutes. Break the stretch and sing a song or draw a picture on the board; talk to the students. This is one of those ways to get kids’ attention. 

When entering the class, the teachers can smile at the children. It can attract attention and make sure of instant warmth and open-mindedness. Start the class with some fun activities like breathing exercises or singing a song. 

Silence is powerful

Though it may take some getting used to, tell the class you need their attention and try being quiet till they become silent. Yes, it takes a few minutes for them to settle down, but this way of gaining attention is always worth the try. 

Talk

Yes, this is so far the best way to get kids’ attention. Talk to the class about a current issue or about anything that might interest their age and social life. Talk about your life and experiences and add in some values here and there; even if they forget the lessons, the stories will never leave their mind! 

Outline the class etiquette. Teach the children it is not acceptable to disturb the class while you are teaching. Teach them the golden words “Thank you”, “Welcome”, “Excuse Me”, “Sorry”

for better communication. Make sure they know they will be punished if they are not attentive or disturbing the class. 

The teacher has to be aware of the different temperaments of each student. While some can be attentive for long periods, others might not be able to do so. One has to be patient and help the children understand the topics and gain their attention back.