If you have any experience with small children, you would know how hard it is to grab and retain their attention on one task for a considerable amount of time. Small children are lively beings- they are almost always bursting with energy, ready to dive into the next thing that finds their interest. Pre-school teachers find it particularly challenging to keep their students interested and focused in their lessons. It can be very testing to grab children’s attention amidst all the hustling and bustling they are prone to make. And if you are a teacher, you must have realized by now that consistently asking them to “quiet down” or “pay attention” hardly works at all.
Nagging and fussing over kids not only takes from one’s energy but can also be utterly useless in achieving the desired effect. If you keep asking your children to focus, they will most likely tune you out and continue behaving as they will. So, to help you out with your classroom woes, listed below are a few tips to make learning in your class more effective when your children are not inclined to focus.
- Consider acquiring specialized education
The most straightforward way to learn how to manage a class of tiny students is to ensure you’re qualified enough for the job. Teaching toddlers is by no means the same as teaching teens, so you may want to prepare yourself for the whats and hows of the role. In this age of technology, you can enroll in an online MEd in Early Childhood Education program and fast-track your upskilling process without having to quit your job. Distance learning makes honing your expertise much more convenient and affordable.
- Be patient with them
Small children require guidance and utmost care. If you treat them rigidly or strictly, you could potentially hurt their feelings and even lead them to behave adversely in retrospect. It is only natural to lose patience when constantly faced with children adamant about wreaking havoc in your classroom. Even years of experience cannot make one effortlessly and flawlessly patient while being around animated children throughout the day. Getting annoyed is human and warranted. However, as a teacher, you should not lose your temper as a result.
Shouting at your children to focus is not the answer. In effect, it could even make them rebel in different ways. Therefore, always try to be patient with them and not lose your composure. Treating children with patience and kindness is only the first step for making them like you. And once they like you, they will be more interested in listening to what you have to say.
- Make it playful in class
Children are attracted to dramatic voiceovers and animated gestures. Try incorporating role-play acting in your classes to keep them engaged. Doing so will make your lessons an enjoyable learning experience for your students. Children learn a lot while watching cartoon shows because they teach many valuable life lessons under the pretense of fun. If you keep it playful inside your classroom, children will be more eager to attend it, making it easier for you to retain their attention.
- Personalize your lessons
Not every child possesses the same learning interests. You may find some children who are eager to learn and some who would rather spend their time ogling a sparrow outside the window. Some find it hard to understand even after trying their best to focus on the lesson. Therefore, try connecting with each of your students personally. If you see a kid struggling to hold their attention in class, reach out to them and try teaching in a way that may make class interesting for them. If you see a kid struggling to understand, try teaching them through another technique. It can be hard to cater to each children’s capabilities, but if you try to personalize your lessons for those with special needs, it will help you grab their attention and encourage them to learn.
- Incentivize learning
Children love to win, and one way to keep them focused is by making a competition out of it. Reward your children for showing interest in the class. You could ask them questions regarding the lessons and gift them small toys or candies if they answer correctly. If you introduce incentives for learning, your students will be more inclined to focus in class in hopes of winning the rewards. If not gifts, even applauding your students for performing well and appreciating their efforts can be an incentive enough.
- Make a song to make the class lively
Be creative in demanding your student’s attention. A plain “Focus Everybody!” will likely fall on deaf ears and lead you nowhere. Try making a song about focusing so that whenever you feel your class’ attention wavering, you can belt out a tune and get their focus back. For instance, “Focus, Focus, before you Hocus-Pocus!” Perhaps that was a bad example, but we hope you get the point.
Children love songs, music, and everything that rhymes. Make frequent use of rhymes and musical notes during your class to make it enjoyable for the children and get them swaying to your lessons.
- Use colors to grab attention
Try using colorful diagrams, shapes, and textures to keep your students positively stimulated. Children are attracted to colorful objects, and including them in your lessons may help grab their attention. Also, try decorating your classroom in soft, warm, and bright colors to make the classroom a comfortable and engaging space for the students. According to color psychology, blue and green aid concentration, while muted and gray tones may lead to lost focus. Decorating your classroom with an appropriate color scheme may help keep your students interested and eager to learn.
- Use simple language and visual cues
In contrast to adults who have been speaking a particular language for years, children have a limited understanding of the language they speak. Therefore, it is plausible they don’t understand everything you say in class and end up losing focus along the way. Try using simple language in your class to help your students understand better. Be direct in your instructions and inform them of what is expected of them precisely. Making use of visual cues in your class will be even better. Try to use physical objects and hand gestures to explain something to your students. You could use the items in your surroundings to describe what you need to.
Teaching small children is no easy feat. Even though it can be challenging to teach a class of screaming, energetic children, guiding them with kindness and patience should always be a teacher’s top priority. Children are delicate creatures, and they need the best kind of nurturing to learn and grow into better human beings. The tips mentioned above may help you retain your students’ attention, but treating them with love and care will help them grow into capable adults.