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27 Ways to Obtain Students Attention

April 13, 2014
Attention is a rare currency in today's digitally focused world. It is also the price we pay for being constantly connected. Being repeatedly exposed to various digital stimuli makes our attention wanders in different ways and subsequently lose focus and direction.

Lack of attention is a common denominator among our students. Most of them struggle to stay on task and this is probably the reason why maintaining an elaborate attention and a high level of student engagement in  learning activities becomes a daunting task for teachers. However, students digitized culture is only one element among many that comprise the inattention crisis inside our classrooms. There are also other contributory factors , salient among them all is rigid teaching strategies.  Teaching content can only be engaging if it is properly communicated to students and for this to happen teachers need to be creative in their instructional methodologies. In this regard, Mia from anethicalisland has this fabulous visual to share with you. The graphic features 27 ways to gain students attention based on  Gagne  et al  "Principles of Instructional Design".  Check it out below:

Here is a quick round-up of the 27 ways Mia talked about below:


  • Sing or rap to your students. Ask them to make a song.
  • Ask a group of students to perform a special dance related to the topic.
  • Watch a short video clip on a related subject.
  • Move to a different location to present the new material.
  • Inquire into what they think they are going to learn. Ask what they would like to learn about the subject.
  • Turn up your energy. Be animated. Sell them on the excitement of the subject.
  • Do a demonstration, make food , cook up an experiment.
  • Ask the students to dream. Use visual imagery. Have them close their eyes and imagine a place while you describe it.
  • Give students miscellaneous materials and ask them to invent a new way.
  • Bring a new smell to ignite their senses.
  • Bring something to touch to ignite their senses.
  • Listen to something foreign and unique.
  • Experience how students in other countries learn the same material.
  • Imitate a famous person. Ask the students to do the same.
  • Play make believe. Start describing a magical world ( related to your material) and ask them to make up the world.
  • Taste something related to the material.
  • Appeal to your students through what is current.
  • Ask them to question reality. Do away with all constraints and ask"What if…"
  • Throw out your notes. Capture your students. Look at them not the notes.
  • Surprise them with a treat or an exciting visitor.
  • Shock them ( like the TV show " Fear Factor").
  • Challenge them to a competition.
  • Dare them to do something new.
  • listen for cues that you are capturing their attention.
  • Act out a piece of the lesson. Have them guess what you are doing. Play charades.
  • Invite someone real and tangible into the class. Ask the students to interview the guest.
  • Skype with someone on the ground doing what the lesson is about. Take the students to new places.


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