Getting Students’ Attention

How do you get students’ attention during an activity? What if that takes “too long”?

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5 Responses to Getting Students’ Attention

  1. Karl Mason says:

    Whatever you use, make sure it is non-verbal, as I’ve said elsewhere, a glass and a spoon are my favourite, makes a lovely ting that stops people talking. If after say 5 seconds there is not silence, do it again. NEVER TALK WHILE THEY TALK! They will eventually become accustomed to the need for quiet with the ting. The beauty of it is that you never even have to explain it.

    If it’s taking too long, it is generally one or two pupils, go and speak to them then back to the ‘ting’. If it’s a lot of pupils, go and speka to the groups, back to the front and ‘ting’ again.

  2. Karl Mason says:

    If you are working in groups, you shouldnt stop the entire class anyway. Every group should have a group rep who you go through with messages, you should have a signal to get the group reps over to you, I find a nice snazzy colour and sound on the whiteboard is best, then impart the wisdom and send them back.

  3. Debbie says:

    I’ve found where I stand is very helpful to getting the class’ attention. It’s easier to get the class silent and listening when I stand at the centre front rather than at the board, PC or side of the room.

  4. Jen says:

    Karl, thanks for the helpful advice. Would you mind explaining your ratiationale for using non-verbal signals? I am a new teacher and curious to hear your insights.

  5. Tina C says:

    I say “I need your eyes up here and your voices quiet.” I start the sentence at a volume that will be heard by the people around me and end in a nice quiet voice. If I then stand quietly and wait students will tell anyone still talking to be quiet.

    If I’ve lost the class (I’m not getting an answer to a question and I’m not sure if they’re listening and don’t understand or just not listening) I’ll say “raise your hand if you’re listening right now.” It’s funny to watch partners clue in the ones who missed the directive.

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