Concentration Skills

I was having a chat with the people in my staff room about how my students can’t seem to concentrate on any one task for more than a few minutes at a time.

This might seem unsurprising for high school students, but I really feel they need to develop this skill so that they are better prepared for senior high and university/the workplace.

Being able to concentrate, or at least do some work without having to distract others or let yourself be distracted, is a very important skill.

One of my colleagues suggested to me a technique that he uses with his seniors, which he said seems to work pretty well. He will put a digital timer up on the board, set a task, and give the students a time frame for concentrating.
The first time will be only a few minutes. If everyone can concentrate for those few minutes, some form of reward is received (free time, silly YouTube video etc).
Every few lessons, the timer is extended, slowly working their way up to 15 minutes of solid concentration. He said 15 minutes is all you can realistically expect from teenagers (and probably adults as well) if the work is not super engaging.

I’m going to give this a go with my year 8 and year 10 classes and see how it works out. They are all well aware of the benefits of concentrating (they know that they understand the work better when they can concentrate).

I encourage you to give it a go too and let me know how it goes!


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About the Author:

Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia. She enjoys blogging about her experiences, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, and drinking tea and wine. Emily is currently on maternity leave with her first child. You can read more teaching articles from Emily here, or about her life as a new mum over at Actual Mums.


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