Pedagogy Welcome

Grabbing Attention

attentionStudents need to be fully engaged in order to maximize the value of each learning opportunity. In her book Engage the Brain: How to Design for Learning That Taps Into the Power of Emotion, author Allison Posey shares the following tips teachers can use to captivate student attention on student learning goals (p. 86):

  1. Provide clearly articulated focus goals for students, so they know where to turn their attention. This alone may be the most powerful engagement tool in your arsenal.
  2. Start class with a thought-provoking question, image, current event, musical selection, or prompt related to the topic or goal for the day.
  3. Have students participate in lesson design in order to make overt connections between content and real life.
  4. Reinforce key information by using visual cues in a variety of colors, fonts, and sizes, or reinforce key information with auditory cues in a variety of rhymes, rhythms, alliterations, or stories.
  5. Employ a variety of activities, such as turn-pair-share, three-minute pause, and/or draw it, to break up lecture and engage learners.

There are many ways to grab students’ attention and engage them in their learning. As you plan for next week, think about how you could use these tips or the many other ways you know to attract and hold student attention. Write these attention-getters into your plans, so that your use of them is intentional and systematic. You and your students will be glad you did!

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