4 Reasons Students Don’t Pay Attention In Class – Why & How

If you’ve been a teacher in the past two decades, you’d know that when you conduct a lesson in the past, your students (or most of them) would pay attention in class.

Sadly, quite the opposite is happening today.

In this digital age, distractions are endless for students, and it is a miracle for them to pay attention in class!

Worse, the ways with which teachers can reprimand students to correct this behaviour is severely limited.

They scroll through their phones every minute of the day checking for updates and news. What are their friends doing right now?

Who’s at that party last night?

Which restaurant should they check out later today?  

Perhaps after 30 minutes, they manage to put their phones down.

But here comes the myriads of notifications from every single app ever!  

Sure we can pull out the oldest trick in the book and confiscate their phones until the end of the school day. But they will just start zoning out in class, not pay attention, and even start distracting the other students. 

So how do we, as teachers, better engage our students in class? Here are 4 easy ways to help our students better focus without having to go old-school on them. 

Identify the way they learn best so they pay attention in class

Try to better engage in students by finding out how they learn best. For example, which of their senses do they use most? Are they Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic learners? They probably learn better and faster by incorporating their strengths into their study methods.

This focus on strengths, in turn helps them to pay attention in class, and reduce the amount of confusion in the way that they learn.

Students that learn in their preferred method pay attention in class

Grouping the students according to their best study methods can also help them learn better as students get the chance to share study tips and tricks with each another, helping one another learn the way they do best. 

Distractions Make Students Not Pay Attention In Class

Ever caught your students staring out the classroom window after lunch break, eyes almost closing from the gentle afternoon breeze?

When you call them out, they listlessly try to focus on you, and just nod their heads to whatever you say?  

The relentless amount of distractions make it hard for students to pay attention in class

Well sometimes the biggest distraction for the daydreamers is that there is nothing else going on other than the droning of the teacher’s voice! They always need something to do with their hands or feet to be able to focus on what you’re saying.

For this group of students, try placing some items on the table for them to play with while you teach so they can concentrate better. Things such as fidget spinners, stress balls, little simple puzzle pieces or Lego might help them focus better.

To get the students to pay attention, you have to first find out what makes them pay attention in class! 

Accomplishing Tasks… The Students’ Way 

Many teachers tend to give students the step-by-step process to accomplishing tasks. This could potentially restrict the students in the way they think and students will stop thinking out of the box. The teachers’ solutions are conveniently available, so why create the trouble for themselves? 

Instead of guiding the students through step-by-step processes, you can try to get the students to think creatively by giving them the end goal and allowing them to set and create their own processes. You’d be surprised at how creative students can be, the way they think out of the box!  

Students can find out how they learn best by finding out what their Strengths are. By utilising their Strengths to accomplish tasks, they will be more engaged in their school work! 

A creative classroom is a fun environment to learn 

Many teachers follow a cookie-cutter way of teaching. This can cause not just the students, but even the teacher themselves to feel disengaged in class.  

To get your students to be engaged in class, YOU need to be engaged in your own lessons! Students know when teachers believe in their own teaching and will likely reciprocate the level of enthusiasm you give. The more engaging a teacher and the lesson is, the more engaged the students will be.  

Be engaged in your way of teaching so that students pay attention in class

The best way to be engaging is to teach the way YOU teach best. Some teachers know how to teach through storytelling, other teachers teach best through hands-on activities. Every teacher has their own teaching style and their own specific way of engaging in their students. 

Find out how you can teach more creatively by knowing what your Strengths are, and teaching through your Strengths. 

Aly is StrengthsAsia’s marketing and communications guru and lead editor. She's over the top inquisitive and everyone in the company knows her as “The Googler” as she practically googles everything. Honestly, we all worry for her… She is also the Principal Trainer for our one of a kind ice cream team building workshops in Asia.

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