Preeti is a teacher at an elementary school. She is an English teacher and is currently conducting a class, “Ok students, take down these notes.” Only eight out of forty-five students comply. Hence, the teacher says again, this time a bit more sternly, “Students, I said quietly take out your notebook.” Yet again, only a few more students follow her instruction. The teacher is now frustrated as this scenario has already played out multiple times today. Quite understandably, she then yells at the students to make them all take out their notebooks.
As teachers, we have all been in teacher Preeti’s shoes from time to time, many of us quite regularly so. Regardless of the certifications, we have or the exams that we have cleared, be it PSTET, PTET, CTET, getting students to listen to you is half the battle in teaching them. In spite of all the revolutionary changes happening in the field of education, such as the rising popularity of online teaching apps, student engagement still remains a critical factor that dictates the effectiveness of teaching. Online teaching drives student engagement as it allows teachers to integrate novel teaching techniques such as AR/VR, AI-based learning, gamification, and likewise. Moreover, teacher apps allow educators to design courses using a variety of media which leads to greater student engagement with the study material.
When their words fall on deaf ears, different teachers react in different ways. Some may even resort to punishing the students including giving them corporal punishment. While effective in the short run, this strategy almost always backfires in the long run, especially in the personality development of students, not to mention that violence against students is prohibited. Therefore, your best bet as a teacher, when it comes to getting your students to listen to you, is employing certain psychological hacks. To assist you in managing your teaching effectively, we compiled a list of the most effective steps a teacher can take to enhance student attention in the classroom. So, without further ado, let us begin….
Stop Repeating Yourself-
It is only logical, that when you repeat the instructions multiple times, students make no effort in hearing you out the first time around. This can be termed as lazy listening; the habit keeps on increasing like a snowball and before you know it, even repeating four times is not enough. Therefore, you must stop repeating yourself and give the instructions clearly and only once. This will change your students’ perception of you to a teacher who rarely repeats, which will automatically make them more attentive. Obviously, you don’t want to leave the students who couldn’t listen to you in the lurch. What you can do is ask them to first ask three of their classmates sitting close to them and ask you to repeat only when none of them could hear you out. This way, you are not spoon-feeding them and at the same time, students are not left behind or resort to disturbing the class by talking to everyone around.
Using Hand Gestures-
Using hand gestures is a simple yet effective tool to enhance student attention. You can tell your students that they are to respond with pre-decided hand signals to questions based on whatever instructions you are going to give them from here on. This will help increase student engagement, class participation and will also be effective in getting shy and introverted students to participate in-class activities.
You should encourage your students to ask questions to resolve their doubts. For instance, if you are narrating a story to them, or students are watching a documentary, listening to an address, and likewise, take a pause and ask your students to come up with a question or two about the instructions they listened to. This causes students to listen more critically to the instructions which require a lot of concentration. So, by asking them to come up with questions, you are helping them resolve their doubts, but more importantly, you are getting them to listen to your instructions.
Getting students to listen to you is an important aspect of effective teaching and all great teachers have a way with students in getting them to listen. However, this skill can be easily mastered by anyone with a smart approach and some practice. Needless to say, if you follow the methods mentioned in this article, you’ll see positive results in your classroom in no time.