Children often have a hard time paying attention to anything for long, but when given a task they find difficult, they are even more likely to give up before trying. A student’s visual concentration and attention may shift around the classroom due to distractions such as other students, teachers, doors that open, windows, lights, whiteboards, computer screens, etc. If a child has trouble paying attention to difficult tasks, encourage them to break the problem into chunks and deal with one section at a time. If you notice that they are struggling with distractions and having trouble maintaining their focus for a while, give them an easier task to do before moving on to something more difficult. Here are a few ways to help students to focus.
Remove All Distractions: Some students have a particularly hard time concentrating on their study lessons. Therefore, the goal of an instructor should be to minimalize distractions to help students focus on the lesson without being diverted by external stimuli. In a classroom, turn off all monitors, cell-phones and remove all possible distractions to maintain silence. This measure will help students concentrate better and encourage them to turn off their cell phones, TVs, and music while studying at home.
Include Physical Activities: Children with attention deficiencies often do better if given short breaks to play. Taking a break to bounce on an exercise ball, playing outside, providing a quick break after stretching, or doing jumping jacks in the classroom can help students with ADHD stay focused. Starting with 10 minutes of play before beginning a tough lesson can help a child stay more attentive in the classroom.
Interview Students: Asking questions about learning and study styles can help you identify the problems that most students of a class face. As you perform a large group activity, set each student aside for a few minutes and ask about:
- Their favorite lesson types.
- Their favorite activities in class.
- Their favorite subject.
- Types of exercises that help them remember key points from the lesson.
This differentiated instruction method helps a teacher track your accomplishments to identify subjects and students with unusual preferences, helping you determine which teaching methods are suitable for their abilities.
Take Small Breaks: Staying busy all day at school without breaks is hard for teachers and students. Take time during the day for puzzles, games, quiet time, or free time for students to relax and refresh for the next part of the lesson.
Study Environment: Make sure that students have a comfortable environment to read and learn. Encourage their parents to provide a quiet and pleasant place for them to study and do their homework. When students are relaxed, their minds can easily absorb lessons they’ve learned in the class.
Play Memory Games: Memory games help sharpen learners’ concentration in a fun way, so they can focus when something difficult comes up. Have game time regularly during normal periods, or support students with ADD/ADHD outside of regular school hours to play concentration games. To increase attention, you can also use Memory Match cards or the Concentration Game.