Distractions are everywhere, especially for teenagers. Social media, marketing campaigns, and friendships all play a role in keeping students from staying engaged with their school work.
Teachers know they need to constantly come up with new tactics to make sure their lessons engage students on an academic level as well as a personal level. Here are some ways to keep even the most distracted teen focused, motivated and on-task when in the classroom.
Develop lesson plans that are as interactive as possible. Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for students to participate. Even if you need to lecture, be sure to enhance the experience by having intermittent opportunities for students to respond through dialogue or mini-assessments as you teach. Be sure to have students use computers, texts, audio, and video components throughout. Changing the way they intake information helps keep them engaged.
While it may be one of the main distractions in a teenager’s life, social media in the classroom can actually be a useful way to keep teens engaged. Whether you use Twitter, Instagram, or even a Tumblr, create an account that you can use to ask questions and various prompts to keep students thinking about what they learned wherever they go.
Get Them On Their Feet
Students sitting quietly at their desk for an entire class period may have been an ideal learning environment a generation ago, but today’s teenagers need more. Incorporate short breaks for stretching, jumping jacks or even a few yoga poses. Create workstations around the classroom that drive students to move around and never feel stale. When demonstrating a new concept, create a play and have students read the parts aloud and take turns being a part of the “performance.” Finding opportunities for movement gives less time to lose their attention.
Make it About Them
Teenagers are figuring out who they are as people. They are drawn to ideas and concepts that connect with who they are. No matter what you’re teaching, be it a novel, a math equation, or a history lesson, figure out the ways you can best demonstrate how it affects your students’ lives. When they make the connection to themselves, they are much more likely to remain engaged and on task.
Teenagers may have a multitude of distractions in their lives, but teachers have all the tools at their disposal to create engaging, interactive, personalized, and fun lessons to keep everyone fully locked in on learning.