When my children walk in the door after school, one of the first questions I ask them is “What did you learn today?” My least favorite response is: “Nothing.” I’m sure you’ve heard that response as well! Of course, their reasoning for not learning anything is because school is just plain boring.
On one such day after my son told me how boring school was, I invited him to help me cook in the kitchen. “So, how can we make school more fun?” (The first silly answers I’ll spare you like not needing an education.) He made a profound statement that it was simply difficult to pay attention in class. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? A middle-school-aged student who quickly knew the problem! And it’s true! It’s so hard to pay attention. Haven’t you, as a parent or educator, found your mind wandering in meetings, training, classes, etc?
With my boy, we quickly brainstormed some ways to help him to pay attention in class.
- Do the homework and reading. This helped my son to be more aware of what would be discussed and also to be prepared with the right vernacular.
- Try to anticipate what will be said or where the topic is going.
- Avoid chatty and distracting classmates.
- Bring everything needed to class.
- Prepare some questions about the topic prior to class.
- Be sure to ask questions about anything that may be unclear.
- Get enough sleep and eat right.
- Take good notes.
- Leave technology in the backpack, locker or desk.
- Sit up front and sit up straight.
- When possible, schedule the hardest classes at them time when you’re most alert.
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.