Look, Listen and Learn: 3 Steps to Better Attention

For all students, paying attention is the hardest part of any lesson. But I found out that when I thought of these three principles on my own, I realized that these three ideas: look, listen and learn are what I can really emphasize to all my students. So what are these three about? Let me explain.

First of all, let us start with Look. It may seem obvious to us but there is a definite understanding that needs to be going on inside the minds of young kids and even older ones at that. Looking of course means for the kids to be paying attention and that means having direct eye contact with the teacher and/or having direct eye contact with the idea being demonstrated. Looking means there is a fixation with the idea being taught or explained. Here is where the teacher talent comes into play. I see many teachers simply just hold the object in front of the class. No, wrong! In order for Look to work effectively, you need to establish their attention gaze and then hold it there! The only way to do this is to show it up close and let students be a part of the learning. As long as their gaze and attention have locked in on what you are showing them, the looking part as been accomplished. 

Now comes the second part which is Listen. This means knowing that your students are listening attentively to most of what you are saying. And the only way that can be done and verified is to ask each student or asking the class as a whole the same question again and again. Sounds boring right? Nope. They will learn not only from different questions being asked but also remember out of repetition. Reminding them and asking are they listening? And having different students or the whole class answering as a whole. This can include even in-depth questions that can test whether they really heard you or not. This can also include saying things like "I cant hear you!" or repeat that please?" If we repeatedly ask those students whom we think may not be paying any attention or do not care to pay attention, unfortunately you may have to force feed those students and make them answer the question or have them write it down. You can also make them listen by being more energetic and using them as an example. Questioning them repeatedly will also keep them on their toes. Do they really want to risk embarrassment? Hopefully not! But you never know. 

Finally, the last step only can happen when the first two steps take place. The learning takes place when they are looking and listening. So it goes without saying that this last part tends to take care of itself. The hardest part comes from the first two which can be a real struggle. But if you persist which all teachers do, hopefully you can find the sweet spot that can ignite your class's interest.

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