Teaching a class full of young children can at times be a difficult task, especially when it comes to keeping them focused throughout the day. Naturally, young children find it difficult to maintain their focus for long periods of time, easily being distracted from even the most fascinating activities. However, with a few tricks and some careful planning, you can keep young learners engaged in the classroom, which will ensure that they take in much more of what you are teaching them.
Set the Tone
One of the best ways to ensure that you keep younger learners engaged in the classroom throughout the day is to set the right tone at the start of the day. In order to do so, start the day with a warm-up activity. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an educational activity, but choose something that will get your students in the right frame of mind for a day of learning by actively engaging them in a task that will require some focus and concentration.
Create Basic Classroom Routines and Procedures
While it’s important to maintain a relaxed learning environment, you need to set some boundaries and enforce certain basic rules in order to make sure that your class stays on track for the duration of the day. Some of the most important routines and procedures you should set up to keep students on-track are for the following situations: entering and leaving the classroom, getting into teams for group work, using and putting away school supplies, signalling for assistance, and suitable activities for free time.
Incentivising certain tasks will not only encourage young learners to pay more attention to what you are doing; it can also help you do away with any dead time in the classroom. An example of incentivising tasks is offering rewards to anyone who completes work before the entire class is done. A good example of this is allowing young learners to do some independent reading or a puzzle while they wait for their classmates to finish. Since children enjoy feeling like they’ve earned a treat, this is a good way to keep them on track with activities. It also ensures that any students who finished more quickly aren’t left without anything to occupy their time. Otherwise, with nothing left to do, children often come up with their own entertainment, which rarely turns out to be something that you want them to be doing in the classroom.
Use a Mix of Teaching Styles
By using a mix of different teaching styles you will keep learning exciting for the entire class. One way of doing this is by using a variety of different teacher-centred and student-centred learning techniques. Utilising both methods of teaching allows you to reap the benefits of each and allows you to choose the most suitable one for specific lessons plans.
Teacher-centred learning is particularly effective for lessons where you need to make sure that the entire class is engaging with what you are saying, either because you are giving specific important instructions or introducing a brand new concept. Student-centred learning, on the other hand, is incredibly useful for lessons based on collaboration, communication, and effective teamwork.
Keep Things Fun But Maintain Control
Learning should be fun, but don’t let your class forget that you are in charge. Of course, this is easier said than done when it comes to younger students as they naturally have problems maintaining focus, all the more reason why you need to run a tight ship and make it clear that you are in control of the class.