5 Ways to Regain Classroom Attention
Before students can be lead by you, you must have their attention. When it comes to keeping children's attention in the classroom, I’ve found that there are several ways you can prevent losing the room, and ways to regain it when accidents happen.
1. Team Teaching
Team Teaching is taking one lesson and dividing it up among team members to communicate. Think of it like a relay race, where every team member has their own section of the track to cover, helping the whole team complete the circuit. Within this method, the most that one teacher would be speaking consistently is 5 minutes before they would trade off to the next. Tagging in another teacher for the next part of the lesson helps maintain the class’s attention by switching up the faces they’re seeing, and the voices they’re hearing. It keeps their senses engaged and prevents them from checking out.
2. Eliminating Dead Time
Whether you’re Team Teaching or running the show on your own, eliminating dead time will give your class less of an opportunity to give away their focus. Dead time is any empty space or unnecessary pause in the lesson. In the relay race analogy, imagine if each team member took their time in passing the baton. Every second they waste in passing is costing the team their chances of winning, and giving the other team a chance to win. In the same way, every moment you waste in transition is costing the attention span of the room, and giving distraction the opportunity to win their focus.
Make sure your team knows their cue. They know exactly what moment the part before them ends, and exactly how they’re going to begin so that hesitation doesn’t threaten the flow of the room.
3. Know Your Tone
You can even use your tone of voice while you’re speaking to keep your audience's attention. “Quiet” communicates importance. If you quiet your tone of voice while you’re speaking it will communicate to your audience that what you’re saying is worth listening to. It also forces the room to be quieter, so they won't miss something important.
4. Ask Questions
If you want to keep your audience engaged in your lesson, begin to ask questions about your topic. You can ask a question, and then walk into the crowd with a microphone and allow them to answer. When they realize there’s an answer to be given, they’ll regain focus to the question.
5. Prize Timer
Give out tickets during the service to reward good behavior. Let the room know that at a specific time in the service, we’ll draw tickets to win prizes. The timer starts at 2 minutes, and we draw tickets for the duration of the countdown. If the room gets distracted, or there’s too much talking, put the timer on the screen and let it begin to tick away. Usually within just a few seconds, the class will regain focus because they don’t want to waste moments of opportunity to win prizes.