Attention span is something that I struggle with. Even remembering people’s names can be difficult for me and I know I have a good memory. I am convinced that much of what I am supposed to know but do not, is due to me being easily distracted. I have witnessed students in the past lose focus in class due to monotonous instruction delivered by myself. I know that creating interactive moments throughout the day, allowing relevant breaks from instruction, and having students interact helps move things along without everyone ending up asleep, or worse, frustrated from trying to stay awake. I tend to instruct students that have no previous college or post-secondary experience, which makes sitting down and listening to my voice for a solid 45 minutes very difficult.
Having a lesson planned so that there are already useful breaks (interactive and material related), guided student conversations, and activities incorporated is much easier than having to come up with something on the spot when you realize everyone looks like they are about to either a. run, or b. faceplant onto their tables. Simply stopping verbal instruction for 10 minutes to participate in a ‘Think-Pair-Share’ activity (collaborative learning strategy), or playing a quick game of trivia instead of a written pop quiz can recharge batteries long enough for everyone to get through the day. The information was obtained in a new and interesting way, creating an experience for the student, which they can later look back and reflect on. This will help create a memory and may assist with having the relevant information ‘stick’.