3.2 Getting and Focusing Students’ Attention
Before beginning instruction, teachers need to obtain students’ attention and direct their focus to the task at hand. The following are classroom strategies and techniques to do so.
- Signal auditorily through the use of music: chimes, rainstick, xylophone, playing a bar or chord on a keyboard, or a few seconds of a recorded song.
- There are various squeezy toys and other noisemakers that make a novel sound that may be a fun auditory signal. Beepers, timers, ring tones may also be used.
- Use a clap pattern. You clap a particular pattern (for example, two slow and three fast claps) and students repeat the clap pattern back to you.
- Use a clear verbal signal (“Popsicles … Freeze!” or “Everybody … Ready …” or “1, 2, 3, eyes on me”).
- Use your voice to get attention, making use of effective pauses and tone variation; whispering also works.
- Use a call-and-response technique, with the teacher calling out a word or phrase and students respond with repeating the word or phrase or with a specific set response word or phrase. See Whole Brain Teaching's (www.wholebrainteaching.com) “Class … Yes!” technique and variations for getting students’ attention.
- Use visual signals such as flashing the lights or raising your hand, which signals the students to raise their hands and stop talking until everyone is silent and attentive.
- Teach specific hand signals such as American Sign Language to signal students. See free downloadable ...