In this age of technology, the availability of information and entertainment is almost instantaneous. From an early age, children are being exposed to such lightning-fast information due to easy access to electronic gadgets. This hyperconnectivity may result in decreasing attention span & concentration in our children.
“If we keep restricting the mobility of young people, online and offline, we will be curbing their ability to develop social skills writ large,” she warned. “This has nothing to do with technology but with the fears, we have about young people engaging with strangers or otherwise interacting with people outside of adult purview.”
How do we know if your child’s inattention is an issue that needs to be addressed? and What is the average attention span of a student?
Attention span by age
According to childhood development experts, a reasonable attention span to expect of a child is two to three minutes per year of their age. It is the period during which a typical child can maintain focus on a task.
Average attention spans in children and teens
- 6 years old: 12 to 18 min
- 8 years old: 16 to 24 min
- 10 years old: 20 to 30 min
- 12 years old: 24 to 36 min
- 14 years old: 28 to 42 min
- 16 years old: 32 to 48 min
Of course, these are only generalizations. A child’s ability to focus is largely determined by factors like the surrounding environment, physical and mental state, and health of the child. Here in Abu Dhabi secondary school we always keep in mind the above factors while deciding how best to approach lesson planning and delivery to our students.
6 Ways to Increase a Student’s Attention Span in the Classroom
After determining the average attention span of the age group that we teach, we think about how we can best deliver content and plan a chain of suitable activities to ensure maximum concentration.
Encourage Physical Activities
Physical activity is not only good for the body but the mind as well. It can help a child focus better. Take a break from learning and do fun physical activities. This can help relax a student’s mind and not cluster it. Creating activity cards is a great way to get your class up and moving.
Indulge Students in Memory Games
Memory games help to sharpen focus for kids in a fun way so that they can concentrate when something challenging is presented.
Add memory games to classroom electronics to encourage this type of play during free time. Do not overcomplicate the games. They need to be simple and engaging. For example, a game of red-light-green-light, I-Spy, or Simon Says forces a child to concentrate.
Break Content into Smaller Time Intervals
Students can concentrate on one task for two to five minutes per year old. For example, in a classroom of 6-year-olds, expect 12 to 30 minutes of attention for your students. Use timers, to set intervals where the student show their progress this prevents them from getting overwhelmed with the task at hand.
Ask Students To Rate Tasks
Ask students to rate the level of challenge found in the activity on a scale of 1 to 10. If the students rate the activity as an eight or higher, ask what they could do to make the task a two or three. This exercise sometimes helps in getting insight to help the student decrease his/her level of frustration and increase concentration.
Remove Visual Distractions From Classroom
A student struggling with a difficult task can find it impossible to keep his/her brain where it needs to be if clutter surrounded her in the classroom or on the desk. Remove unnecessary clutter and visual experiences from the classroom.
Practice daily mindfulness
In Abu Dhabi International School we use many short and easy mindful activities like breathing exercises, Pinwheel breathing, shark fin, breathing hands, etc. A 5-10 minute Mindfulness Practice each day, at a time that you know students need a little extra something to help focus and get the most out of the learning experience that is about to occur.
There are so many ways to cater to the varying concentration spans of your class group. Here at our school, we use a more Hands-on, practical, or inquiry-based learning experience is a valuable technique that requires creative thinking and problem-solving.