First, Get Their Attention

First, Get Their Attention—Then Keep It

There is an old joke about the cowpuncher, explaining how to train animals, hits his mule with a stick and says, “First, you have to get his attention!” Capturing your audience and maintaining sufficient order rest upon three or four practices:

1. Begin at the bell. Do not give students time to start ten conversations. Bringing them back once they have lost focus is tougher than grabbing their attention out of the gate. Take attendance once they have begun working.
2. While preparing the lesson ask, “What about this subject will likely interest students?” Use this as a “bell ringer.” Focus their attention; then begin.
3. If appropriate, strive for more than one activity with appropriate transitions, of course.
4. Work until the closing bell rings. If given time to squander, students will creatively fill it—sometimes to your chagrin.
5. Although easier said than done, continually persuading students that classroom skills and content matter makes keeping attention more likely. Expect to “sell” them regularly. Then find essential material that they will recognize as important.
6. Prepare. Master teachers make running a class seem effortless. It isn’t. The best spend gobs of time finding, developing, and practicing their material. They also work on improving their storytelling skills. In the end, the best storytellers run the world.

Question: How can you keep students in their seats making productive use of time until the final seconds?
Answer: Play with Language daily (More in the next Post).