When it comes to motivating students to become engaged during a lesson, it may seem like a huge challenge. For students to begin to show signs of interests and thus progress, distractions must be removed from the classroom. Sure, there are certain things you simply can’t do anything about, such as outside traffic noise or reoccurring school bells. However, there are plenty of other areas you can begin to reduce. Thus, the following list includes eight tips for how you can begin to create a distraction-free classroom for yourself and your students.
Arrange the Desks or Tables a Certain Way
Students, no matter their grade level, love to interact with each other. Often those within the elementary and middle school grade levels aren’t mature enough yet to understand when social time is and when is learning time. So, as a teacher, what can you do to mitigate this distraction?
English Post suggests that one of the best ways to approach this is to introduce a seating arrangement plan that promotes learning but still keeps everyone together. There are a variety of seating charts available such as rows, horseshoe shaped, groups, and many more. So, how do you know which one is the right one for your classroom? Studies have shown that rows are the best way to keep your student’s attention as they are all facing forward. If your classroom has tables rather than desks, then it is important to consider having the tables facing the instruction area rather than placing them in corners.
Create a Seating Chart
If you’re a teacher in the elementary and middle school grades, you might find that implementing a seating chart is the best way to avoid distractions. Small boys and girls don’t want to be seated next to each other and thus helps minimize the talking during your lesson. This seating chart may also be used to separate friends who might not be the most attentive during classroom time.
Keep the Classroom Clean and Clutter-Free
Distractions aren’t only things that move around or make loud noises; they can also be simply items tossed around the classroom. Having a dirty and cluttered classroom keeps students from learning properly because they are either worried about being hurt or frustrated. In addition, safety must also be a top priority for you. Children cannot learn in an environment where they don’t feel safe. HangSafe Hooks suggests that you can also make the learning environment safe by removing any protruding coat hooks, thus eliminating clutter and the risk of needless harm. Utilize organizational accessories to provide your students with a place to hang their backpacks or coats as these too can create clutter.
Establish Class Rules
Everyone’s been there, you ask your students to quietly place their tablets or journals back in their group bins, and suddenly a stampeded erupts. Not only does this distract other students who might still be working, but you are losing precious lecturing time. The best way to approach this issue is to establish rules in the classroom.
These must be separate from the traditional rules, such as respecting one another and asking permission to get up to the restroom. These should include the manner in which certain things are put away, who can get up, who cannot, and at which time. Establishing these types of rules will no doubt cut your reorganization process in half and allow you to provide more education time for your students.
Come Prepared for the Pauses
Every teacher knows that most of the distractions begin when you are transitioning from one part of the lesson to the other. This might occur if you need to take some time to collect journals, worksheets, or books from your personal folder. A great way to avoid students becoming distracted during this time is to prepare for the pauses. You can accomplish this by simply asking your students to summarize what they just heard and write it down. This helps keep the momentum of the lesson going while you gather the rest of the items for your lesson.
Remove Digital Noises
Today’s classrooms are nothing like they were ten years ago. Today, classrooms are filled with tablets, computers, robots, multiple printers, and the list goes on. All this leads to a variety of digital sounds going off throughout the day. Emerging Ed Tech says that this can be very distracting when they occur so often, and thus, it is highly recommended to remove as many of these distractive noises from your classroom.
Utilize Instruction Tools
After a while, your students are going to become tired of simply looking at you speak. Others might lose their place in the lesson and thus will either begin to zone out or distract others. As a teacher, it is your job to make sure that these things don’t happen. A good way to avoid this is to utilize various instruction tools during the lesson. Use laser pointers to keep your students from losing their place in a lesson. Classroom suggests that you may also use visuals to demonstrate different aspects of the lesson and thus reducing any dull moments within the lecture.
The Cornerstone For Teachers advises that one of the many realities of teaching is that you will have children with ADHD within your classroom. ADHD simply stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This is a medical condition that makes it difficult for a child to focus and stay still. There’s no doubt about it; you will have distractions from these students. The best way to help these students to pay attention while minimizing the distractions in class is to have them sit close to you. This will allow you to keep an eye on them and prevent any rising distractions from happening.
Teaching a classroom with 20 plus kids can be quite the workload. Children will no doubt want to socialize, run around, look and touch items and everything in between. Your responsibilities are to reduce as many of these distractions as possible. Thus, it is important to adhere to the tips listed above in order to accomplish this very goal.
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