The new generation of students are accustomed to social media, games, entertainment and even edtech apps where they are required to keep on tapping, scrolling and swiping on their devices. Educational leaders are debating whether the attention span of students is shrinking to that of a goldfish because of these modern applications. Parents, educators and other school staff have been challenged to meet students halfway and take on a different approach that moves away from the traditional education system.
What can educators do to address the needs of the modern day student? Here’s some simple suggestions to try out in the classroom.
1. Teach them how to pay attention by demonstrating what it looks like. If needed, use a timer and when it rings let them decide for themselves if they were paying attention or not.
2. Give them options. Employing the principle of differentiated instructions, have your students choose which schoolwork they wish to complete. You may prepare 3 sets of activities to which they can choose from.
3. Clear possible distractions. Ask your students to clear their tables or desks of anything that may act as a distraction.
4. Vary the activities. Prepare a lesson that engages the class in pairs or individuals. You may also incorporate edtech teacher tools that could aid their learning process.
5. Multiple breaks. We suggest not going beyond 10 minutes sessions. Provide reasonable break time where students can ponder a concept, move around and check on their classmates’ output or simply ask questions on ideas they want to clarify.