With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing around the world, educational institutions have arguably been hit the hardest. This has called for alternative methods to the usual classroom learning as schools have been closed down. Home tutoring and online classes are some of the solutions that have been come up with. These methods are not without their problems, though.
Children, as a general rule, are difficult to handle. It is now even more difficult given that there are no teachers to keep an eye on them for the majority of their day as it used to be. How can parents now get their children to pay more attention to their academics pending the time that schools open again? How can teachers keep the children focused during their lecture period and beyond? Let us discuss a few pointers.
Avoid Multitasking Unnecessarily
Adults pride themselves in being able to multitask. However, this has been proven by researchers to reduce concentration and diminish performance. This is even more pronounced in children. When teaching a child, you must focus on one topic before moving to the next. This will make sure that the child fully understands the concept and is not lost midway.
Try not to labour the child with different information all at once. This is usually the case with online teaching using text-based media for teaching like WhatsApp or Google Classrooms. The general feeling is to upload multiple courses all at once to save time. This will usually turn out to be overwhelming for the child and eventually detrimental to the child’s concentration.
Follow a Set Schedule
Humans are creatures of habit. With a set routine, we can easily accomplish a good number of tasks than if we were randomly checking boxes. Having a set schedule helps to make one focused. The same principle works for children.
Children are used to a pattern. Their school routine is mapped out to the letter, and this is helpful to them. They can have their brains tuned to focus when the time for learning begins. So them having a set routine for their alternative means of learning will help to make them focus better, at least for the period the lesson lasts.
Always Break Big Tasks into Smaller Ones
Children have a short attention span, especially when it comes to daunting tasks. They can only focus for so long on difficult tasks before moving on to some other task they can accomplish rather easily. The key to having children focus on a difficult task is to break them down into smaller, manageable ones.
The general procedure for breaking down tasks would include the following steps:
- Define the task.
- Segment the task into manageable chunks.
- Give each chunk a deadline for completion.
- Revise the strategy at intervals.
For more details on how to be able to adequately break tasks down, you can use the following resources:
- For Parents: Help Your Child Break Tasks Into Small Manageable Sections Or Parts.
- For Teachers: 11 Tips on Breaking Tasks Down for Students: An Executive Function Post
Create a Makeshift Classroom
It might be important to have a set-aside location for the classes. Various locations elicit different responses from the children. It would be almost impossible to get a child to focus on school work on a playground, so there should be a designated location for this purpose.
Setting up a classroom can be a tedious task for most. Just make sure that the area picked for the class is uncluttered be free from as many distractions as possible. Try to equip it as much as possible with all the necessary tools to avoid excess/unnecessary movement by the children.
So far, we have looked at some ways one can help their wards/kids stay focused on their studies this period. The ways we have discussed are as follows:
- Avoid Multitasking Unnecessarily
- Follow a Set Schedule
- Always Break Big Tasks into Smaller Ones
- Create a Makeshift Classroom
Follow through with these and you will see an improvement in your wards!
The Concerned Parents and Educators Network (CPE) will be five (5) years old on the 24th of June 2020. To celebrate five years of Impact in the Education sector, the group has put together a special essay competition for Teachers. More details can be found here.