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Tips and tricks for getting your students’ full attention

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Every great teacher knows the importance of gaining and keeping the attention of the students’ in their classroom but sometimes that is easier said than done. Getting the undivided attention of a classroom full of students can be challenging and these skills can take time to learn but we have some simple tips for you to try.


The challenge of maintaining your students’ full attention

We place high expectations on the students in our classrooms but expecting them to sit quietly for hours on end is unfair, this is why breaking the lesson into bite-size chunks can make the lesson more manageable and help keep your students focused when needed. Sometimes allowing your students to take a break is far more productive than attempting to maintain focus for longer periods. If you are looking for information on Brain Breaks and how to incorporate them into your lessons you will find our handy blog post here. 


Be clear about your expectations

Difficulty getting your students’ attention at the start of the class or in between activities is something every teacher has struggled with at one time or another. It is important to make your expectations clear from the start. Explain to your students at the start of each lesson what the structure of the lesson will look like and exactly how you will be getting their attention when needed, that way they will know what to look for and how to behave when it happens. 


5 tips for getting your students’ full attention 

Here are 5 tips and tricks that are sure to help you gain the attention of your students without needing to raise your voice. 


  1. Set a timer - We know that students enjoy structure and setting a timer for a particular activity can help your students plan their time effectively and will help control the chaos when the activity is finished. Set up a clock or project the timer on the white board if you have one, that way there will be no surprises when you call for their attention once again. 
  2. Call and response - This is a really fun way to get your students’ attention. Create a call sign with your students at the start of the term. The idea being that when the teacher calls out the call sign the students respond in unison signalling to everyone the need to stop and listen. The call sign can be anything you want but here are some of our favourites: Eyes. Open. Ears. Listening. Ready to rock? Ready to roll! One fish, two fish. Red fish, blue fish. Break it down. (Students dance around).
  3. Clap if you can hear me - When you need to get your students’ attention say “Clap if you can hear me” The students who can hear will clap two times, repeat the phrase with the students increasing the number of claps by one each time until all the students are listening. 
  4. Follow the leader - sticking with the clapping theme you can also clap out a tune and have the students repeat it back to you until all the students are listening. 
  5. Move around - resist the urge to stay in one place at the front of the room, you will get the attention of the students at the front but you might lose those at the back. Move around the room, stand near your students, and animate your face and body, this will make it much easier to grab their attention and keep them engaged. 


If you would like more tips and tricks for gaining your students’ attention you can have a look at our hand-picked blogs here and here. 

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Written by Rebecca Sparling


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