Attention is a limited resource and one that must be established, directed, and maintained. Dr. Anne Hlas, Department of Languages, provides strategies on how to structure your class to get the most out of student’s attentional resources:
The first 10 minutes of the class is the most attention rich time for students. When we are passing back papers or going over logistics the beginning of class, it’s not as effective as if we were to use that time to target new material. Last semester, my student researcher, a colleague, and I conducted research on attention where 274 students—from all different levels of Spanish—were given clickers so they could self-report when they were having an attention lapse. In addition to learning that students were paying more attention the first 10 minutes of class, our findings also suggested that more active learning techniques, such as cold calling (randomly calling on students), interactive speaking tasks, and working on individual white boards, may also increase attention.
For more information on this subject, consider checking out the book Brain Rules, by John Medina.
Interview by: Jon Pumper