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How to Skyrocket Learning by Keeping Students Focused

How to Skyrocket Learning by Keeping Students Focused

Corralling a classroom of students for any length of time – whether it is fifty-five minutes or five minutes – to focus on a new learning topic is like herding cats.

It’s essential to keep students focused and participating to increase learning. Keep students engaged may seem more difficult for higher grade levels. The old standby of “1-2-3-STOP” to get everyone to settle down and listen is no longer effective.

Since classroom management can gobble up a sizeable portion of the teaching day, what methods are the most effective for keeping students focused, on track, and actively engaged in the lesson?

While an essential tool in learning, direct instruction is often put aside in these circumstances to focus instead on introducing a fun, everybody-out-of-their-seats activity meant to involve students actively. The more creative and innovative the event, the more successful you will be engaging your students and keeping them on track and focused.

One fabulous strategy to get students participating and engaged is to introduce a friendly competition where every student has the chance to participate.

One teacher told me about a Q & A game she plays with students to review material before tests. She divides the class into two teams and has everyone stand at their desks. She goes down each row, giving a question to each student. If the student answers correctly, they get to sit down.

If not, they remain standing until the questioning loops around again. At the end of 15-20 minutes, the team with the most “sitters” wins a prize, such as extra recess time or another treasured activity. Not only does this breed a healthy sense of competition among the students and build self-esteem, but it engages students’ whole bodies in the learning process and gets the energy flowing.

For the higher grade levels, group projects or problem-solving activities are useful, especially those that allow for a definition of a specific role for each participating student. You could even leave the discussion of who is responsible for what up to the students themselves if you choose.

For instance, you can divide the class into groups and have each group solve a problem, giving each student a specific task. When the groups have solved their problems, they present their solutions to the class. Class debates are great ways to involve all students, and as a mediator, you can control the flow of the conversation by asking different students to participate.

If you increase your effectiveness in “herding” your students, this will create more time for learning and improve your students’ retention levels. Prospective employers are always interested in learning about teachers’ techniques for keeping students focused on their lessons, so be sure to highlight this in your resume and cover letter.

As with any classroom, learning will increase if classroom disruptions are reduced.

If you would like help fleshing out these kinds of details on your resume, give us a call. We are the experts in writing resumes and cover letters for teachers!