Student attention spans have always been short, and they are only getting shorter. Dr. Tom Kemp, professor of Economics, gives a tip on how to get students through dense (but necessary) material:
Pay close attention to the class; that’s how I know when to break it up. When it’s clear that the majority of the class is no longer paying attention to what I am saying, it’s not really useful to continue. There’s more value in breaking into something else in order to get them back into what I’d like to discuss. I’ll tell stories, create goofy analogies, or continue a running gag: there is always a side-story to be told, something that is relevant to the course but is more engaging than the theoretical material that we need to cover. Don’t be afraid to draw on real-life experiences: students may find this useful as a scaffolding device for their own learning.
Interviewed by: Jon Pumper