Every educator has either unconsciously or consciously thought at some point and imagined a world wherein students are perfectly behaved and eager to learn. They would come in, whether it be in school or tuition sessions, with a bright look on their eyes that signifies their thirst and readiness for knowledge and learning. In this world, the students are eager to learn and absorb every last bit of knowledge thrown at them, they are on the lookout to develop their knowledge more and are focused on their studies during lessons only. However, in reality, that is far from the truth. While there are plenty of students who are ready to learn, there are more cases of students who are the opposite.
It doesn’t mean that students don’t want to learn. There are, however, some factors that may cause them to lose their focus on their lessons or to become demotivated with their students. Whatever the case may be, it has become apparent that the more the student stays focused on their lessons, the more they will absorb what is taught to them. But, how can tutors retain students’ attention especially during their tuition sessions? We have gathered some tips for tutors to help encourage students to focus on their lessons during sessions.
The first step to retain student’s attention is to get rid of distractions. There will be distractions everywhere and the best way to make sure the student is focused is to get rid of as many distractions as possible. In tuition, it already lessens distraction from other students as the student receives lessons individually. However, it doesn’t just end there. The area where tuition takes place is also important.
With the student’s parents, discuss the areas in the house where tuition can take place peacefully. This means that tutors should suggest a place that is not common to everyone in the house. Kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms are all places that anyone can walk in to and that can cause distractions for students. Spaces near windows that face traffic or a busy street can also be distracting for students.
The environment where tuition takes place isn’t the only factor that can distract the student. There may also be some internal factors that can affect them. It can be they are distracted because they are tired or hungry or they are struggling with problems socially that takes up their focus.
Students, especially younger ones, tend to become distracted by the smallest things. It helps for the tutor to understand what ticks or sets off the student before implementing a distraction-free space for them as well. For younger students, tutors can also make sure to give them breaks so they would have the means to use their stored energy. Children are naturally hyperactive so tutors have to have lots of patience dealing with students such as.
If tutors can’t help it when their students are distracted by the things they find interesting outside of the lessons, how about using the same technique to get their attention? When the lessons are much more exciting and interesting for students than those of the things that distract them, their attention will also turn to the lessons. But how can you make tuition exciting and interesting for students?
The answer is simple. Involve the student. If students lose focus when they are staying still, then it’s best to involve them in lessons rather than just giving it to them. Encourage them to participate, act out scenes with the student, draw with them, or even sing a song with them. Students already have their own interests so it will also help the tutor if they can use these interests and incorporate them in the lesson to sustain student interest.
As an example, if the student is interested in singing and the tutor is doing a lesson about verbs or grammar in general for English, they can make up a song to sing that can help the student remember the rules of grammar they are trying to master. They will be having fun with the song and also remembering the lyrics will be easier for them and as such, they can also remember the rules better. If the student is interested in video games, the tutor can base their lessons on different video games and even score points the same with video games. If the student has to complete a workbook or answer on paper, the tutor can encourage them to personalize or decorate the corners of the worksheet. This will inspire their creativity and help relieve stress as well.
Tutors have to remember that students may already be stressed in school and their extra-curricular activities. It will help them to have a tutor who understands their struggle and make learning easier and more fun for them, rather than tuition becoming a burden for them.
When the tutor is constantly discussing to the student about the lesson and giving input, this is mostly the time where the student loses their focus and becomes distracted by other things. Just listening without doing anything can cause the student to become bored and when they do, they will turn their attention into something else. This is why it’s important to limit the amount of time the tutor spends on lectures or discussions with the student.
This goes without saying that it doesn’t mean for the tutor to abandon lectures and discussions all together. It means that instead of doing so for a long period of time, the tutor can break it into parts and give students the time to engage their minds on the topic and give them something to work on. When the student has trouble with the activity or the lesson, then the tutor can step in to provide guidance while still giving the student the chance to try things for their own and develop their skills. Encourage the student to ask questions as well to fully engage them in the lesson and activity.
Because sitting down and listening to lectures can become boring fast and doing activities after activities can also be exhausting, why not use games to make learning fun and interesting for students without making it tiring for them as well? Games aren’t just used to add to the equation of lessons, sometimes games can also be a means for the student to relax. Playing games doesn’t have to be done actively if the tutor sees that the student is exhausted from a day’s work. They can play board games or puzzles that can relax students while still keeping their minds active. It lessens the chances of burnouts as well as still keeping them productive.
A reward system is also a great way to sustain student’s attention. It reinforces the student to continue with their hard work and good behavior as well as motivate them to do better. Rewards also give students a concrete reason why they should complete the task, retain their focus, and do well. Tutors should also make sure that the rewards given to the students are valid and interests the student. If the rewards don’t interest the student, they wouldn’t be bothered to aim for it. Rewards help excite students and do their work with enthusiasm as well. as such, setting a system for rewards is also important. It shouldn’t be done out of the whim to bribe the student to work on their tasks, instead, it should be a reinforcement so the student understands what needs to be done and complete their work.
A good way to assess how much and deep the student has learned and how well they focused on the lesson is to give them time to briefly summarize the lesson in their own words. Feedback and assessments are essential in learning. When done right, these can also increase student motivation for progress and reaching their goals. Summarizing the lesson helps the student remember what they’ve learned and help the tutor see how much they’ve learned as well as parts of the lesson the student may have missed.
One good way to help with summarizing is to incorporate the 3-2-1 method wherein students can tell 3 things they’ve learned, 2 things that have piqued their interest about the lesson, and 1 question they have. It’s much simpler for the students so they wouldn’t be intimidated by summarizing. When the student knows they will be asked to summarize and be given feedback by their tutor, they would pay more attention to the home tuition session.
Admittedly, sustaining a student’s attention is easier said than done. However, it’s not impossible. There are many ways to get their attention and help them focus on the lesson and activities at hand. By helping them with a distraction-free space, giving interesting lessons and activities, and encouraging them to participate, students will be more inclined to focus and become more motivated to reach their academic goals.
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