The student’s attention span has slowly begun to decrease. We are working on new ways to keep the energy and focus level high. What are some ideas on keeping the concentration span to last longer?
Here are some ideas:
- Some students have more of a challenge than others in sitting still for extended periods. One way or another being “static” slowly decreases focus. Try having a 2-3 min break in the middle of the tutoring session. Make sure the student actually gets up and moves around during this break so that they are really “broken” away from the maths. They should change their physical orientation. Perhaps when sitting back down, try to sit in a different spot.
- Would your student have the same trouble concentrating if they would receive their dream toy or computer game in exchange? Probably not. If it was important enough for them then they would find a way to remain focussed. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be focussed; it’s just a matter of leverage. Try setting some compelling goals with the student. What do they want from the tutoring? What will it give them, how will they feel? If you create enough reasons for focussing in tutorials (that are meaningful to the student), you should see a boost in concentration.
- This will only be temporary however. In order to maintain this you need to regularly reflect on those goals, help the student realise what they have achieved and then realign their goals once more.
- What is the environment like when the tutoring is being done? Is the student running around, heart racing, playing sport 5min before tutoring? Are there lots of background noises, people talking and television? Do members of the family keep walking past? Is there lots of clutter everywhere preventing a clean working space?
- All these small environmental factors play a fairly important role. Each student has their own needs to be able to achieve concentration. Find out what your student’s needs are by discussing situations where they have been really focussed. Often students are not aware of what works for them so we need to help them find out and to help create an environment where concentration is as easy as possible for them.
- It may be wise to discuss the issue with the student. The more aware they are of their own challenges and possible solutions the more progress they will make. Why do they think that concentration is lost? What do they think they can do about it? Do they care? Do any of the suggestions you have made (above) make a difference?
- Similarly, you can discuss the issue with their parents. Not in a critical “this is what’s wrong with your son/daughter” way, but rather in the spirit of cooperation, an open and consultative fashion. Nobody knows your student better than his/her parents and they may have some valuable ideas for boosting concentration levels. Either way, their feedback can only help the situation – just make sure not to inadvertently give them the idea that the student isn’t trying hard enough or doing something wrong.