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On-line Teaching: 5 Tips for How to Keep Students’ Attention

In 2020, most countries made the decision to either fully or partially switch to online school programs for elementary, high school, and college students. This was undoubtedly a huge change for students, but for teachers as well. Teachers were met with a completely new set of challenges, which included how to keep their students’ attention during online classes.





The novel coronavirus pandemic is still a huge issue all around the world, and it remains to be seen when things can go back to normal. In the meantime, the best course of action is to simply adapt to the new normal and work on things you can influence today. That includes learning how to become a better teacher via a laptop screen. In case you’re looking for new ideas on how to keep students’ attention during online classes, here are a few ideas you can try. We’ve also included a few suggestions for you to check out. Let’s dive right into it!

Organize Brain Breaks

This is an incredibly effective strategy to improve the focus of your students in case you’re teaching elementary school kids. Brain breaks usually only last a few minutes and are designed to energize your students. Keep in mind that it can be quite monotonous and boring for children to watch teachers sit in the same position and just listen to the lecture.

Halfway through the lesson, you can expect nearly all students to stop paying attention to what you’re teaching. Brain breaks will give learners a chance to do something fun and different during an online class. It will wake them up and encourage them to listen to what you’re saying.

It’s best to take a brain break once you’ve covered at least a third of the lesson. Some of the activities that you can enjoy during this time include singing together, having a jam session with a few different instruments, playing games, watching funny online videos, as well as telling jokes. It’s important to encourage your students to participate in activities during brain breaks, as it will ultimately boost their energy.

Give Your Students Quizzes

At the end of each lesson, you should summarize what you taught that day. A simple way to do this would be to give your students a summary text and have them read it. However, you can’t really expect that to be an effective strategy. With a little more effort, you could have your students engage in the lectures more by having them do an online quiz.

Depending on the lecture, you might not even have to create the quiz yourself. Do a quick Google search and find out whether there are any existing online quizzes that cover your lecture. In case you decide to make your own quiz, make sure that you include videos, images, and graphics wherever possible.

During the last several months, there have been multiple examples of teachers getting really creative with online quizzes. There was recently a huge story about a math teacher that used the popular social deduction game called Among Us to create what is essentially a complex quiz.

Just like in the original game, students acted as crewmembers aboard a spaceship with an impostor and had to figure out who the impostor was. In the version that this teacher has created, students could figure out the identity of the impostor only if they solved math problems found at different parts of the spaceship. You can find something that your students relate to, like this massively popular game, and incorporate it into a quiz. Doing this is a great way to keep them engaged in the material.

Check out our COVID-19 and lockdown quiz here.

Show Engaging Videos

Your students are growing up in the era of YouTube and other video streaming websites. They love to watch short videos on a number of topics, which is why you should incorporate them into your lessons. It doesn’t matter if you find animated or live-action video content, as long as it’s educational and interesting, you should show it to your students.

Students expect to see text and images during classes, so it’ll be a nice change of pace when you start incorporating more video material into your lessons. The animation is particularly interesting, as it allows students to visualize what they’re learning. Of course, you can also find inspiring live-action videos that show students how to apply what you’re teaching in real life.

Move Around

Sitting or standing motionless in front of the camera is the furthest thing from interesting. If your students see you stay in one position throughout the whole lecture, they’ll likely get bored. Use the fact that you’re in the comfort of your own home to move around freely and bring more energy into your lectures.

When students see that something is happening, they’ll be more likely to pay attention to the screen. Encourage your students to stand up when they’re answering questions to keep them engaged in the lesson. It’s also a good idea to do something unexpected every once in a while.

For instance, if you can play the guitar and are about to teach a new concept, try coming up with a song that will introduce it in a fun way. Grab your guitar when your students least expect it and start playing. As long as you come up with new ways to grab their attention, they’ll be more likely to listen and remember what you’re teaching.

Make sure to check out more remote-ready resources here.

Break Down Each Lesson into Smaller Parts

There’s a good chance that you wouldn’t be able to stay focused on a lesson if a lecturer didn’t structure it properly. Students are likely to stop paying attention to your lessons if you don’t break them down into smaller segments.

One of the best ways to ensure that your students are motivated is to help them realize that they’ve learned something. When they see that they can learn something new in just a few minutes, the lecture will immediately become more interesting to them.

Breaking down content into smaller chunks is also a great way to ensure the students memorize vital information. You can break down your lessons by using graphics, one-sentence paragraphs, bulleted and numbered lists, subheadings, tables, and images.

You can find more info on high-school subjects lessons at the following link.

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