Factors that Influence Students' Attention

Increase Intrinsic Motivation
(Keep attention up to 90 minutes)
Increase Boredom and Aversion
(Keep attention for 10 minutes or less)
  • Provide choices within lessons and during the day whenever possible
  • 100% required tasks
  • Student input is not allowed or valued
  • Tasks are teacher directed
  • Create authentic learning scenarios so students can relate it to their real lives
  • Impersonal and disconnected
  • The learner does not know how the “work” applies to his/her life
  • Provide tasks that require the student to work on processes
  • Incorporate movement whenever possible
  • Teacher seldom interacts with students
  • Students work individually
  • Instruction is primarily whole group lecture and seatwork
  • Use clear and precise language
  • Explicitly model the process or procedure
  • Provide a mental model
  • Clearly state the purpose/objective
  • Create common references with anchor lessons
  • Give ongoing feedback compared to the goal you are working towards
  • Learner is looking for boundaries
  • Purpose and objective are a secret
  • Student uses time trying to “read the teacher’s mind”
  • Learner is unsure how they are doing compared to the goal you are working towards
Mutual Respect:
  • Show personal interest
  • Use courteous language and actions
  • Accept others’ feelings
  • Give “wait time” or time for students to think
  • Provide individual help
  • Teacher is “real”
  • Words are carefully selected
  • Low level of stress
Teacher Knows All:
  • Teacher is “fountain of knowledge”
  • Tone is bitter and sarcasm is often used
  • Words are hasty and not thought through
  • Teacher always “wins”
  • High level of stress