Understanding the of Attention Spans of Elementary Aged Students

Teaching students of any age group can be a challenge. However, from my experience, elementary aged students are the most difficult to tutor due to their shorter attention spans. If you are looking for a math tutor for your child visit Math heytutor. Although very few people enjoy the idea of sitting down and studying for a few hours, this actual process is nearly impossible for younger children. If you are finding it challenging to help your child study, tutor a student, or work with kids in a classroom setting, the following information might be helpful to you. I have found it to be beneficial to me, as I have worked with young kids during the last several years.

Source: Studydog.com
Source: Studydog.com

Attention Span and Age

First, I believe the most important thing to understand is that there is a direct correlation with a child’s attention span and their age. In general, the amount of attention span a child has should be equivalent to their age. As children get older, their attention span and ability to learn grows.

I have seen many teachers and tutors apply what is known as the “chunk” method to their teaching lessons. With this method, they determine the average age of the students in their classroom. Then, they add 5 minutes to the age. With this idea, a 7 year old will receive 12 minutes of instruction before moving onto a different idea. Experts suggest that this pace is the right speed for the children to learn without loosing their attention. In many scenarios, this method has been extremely effective.

Remove Distractions

In the past, kids were much more focused because there were fewer distractions. However, today’s technology provides numerous distractions in school and at home that prevents kids from paying attention and finishing assignments quickly. The following are some of the most popular distractions:

  • Cell phones
  • Social media
  • Television
  • Friends
  • Busy environments

There is a reason why offices want their employees to work in closed off cubicles. This type of environment fosters efficiency and productivity. The same concept applies for elementary aged students. Although you cannot section students off in a classroom, you can keep them away from friends that they will be distracted by. You can also ask them to turn off all electronics.

At home or when working with a tutor, the best environment is a quiet area where the distractions are minimal. The student should have a space to work quietly so that he or she can maximize their performance and pay attention to their assignments. When they do not have this, this causes them to make more mistakes with their work because they are often unfocused. As a result, their learning suffers.

Change Things Up

Since young children have short attention spans, I often like to change things up when I work with them. This usually stimulates their mind and helps them to become more interested about the upcoming activity. Although there are several benefits from a routine, the redundancy of it can get old to a child with a short attention span. For this reason, he or she might need to start with math first instead of reading some days. Other times, they might need a change of location. For example, they could study at the library instead of at home. These changes, although simple, are great ways to help children stay focused and perform well on their assignments.

Let the Child Choose the Activity

One of the most effective ways I have found reading the homeworkmarket blog – in order motivate a child to stay attentive is to let them choose the activity. For example, if you are a parent helping with homework, then you can ask what assignment your son or daughter wants to do first. Perhaps he or she will want to do math one day and reading another. Maybe they will always want to do their math first everyday. The answer to this question may help you understand what subjects they enjoy most and what subjects they struggle with. After all, it is easier for a child to focus on an assignment that he or she understands. However, they might lose focus trying to complete an assignment that is difficult. This is wear tutoring can make a big difference in helping the student to better grasp a difficult concept.

Ask for Participation

Whenever you are teaching or tutoring young children, it is important to ask for participation. Elementary school children thrive off of attention. They want to feel included and accepted by their superiors. Therefore, when you ask for their participation, you can ensure that they will be more attentive to what you are teaching. Also, participation can occur in many forms. The following are a few examples:

  • Question and answers
  • Show and tell
  • Visual problem solving
  • Reading out loud
  • Preparation for projects

Create Stimulating Activities

Furthermore, since children have small attention spans, you cannot assume that lectures will help you get your point across. In all of my experience working with young children, too much talking can actually cause you to loose the attention of the majority of kids. Why? Kids need more stimulating activities to learn.

For example, if you are going to teach them to add and subtract, they might need a visual exercise. Many tutors, parents and teachers like to use pennies. With a couple of pennies kids will easily understand how to add and subtract after a few exercises. They may have to count in their head for a while before the concept fully sinks in. However, they will be able to grasp what it means to add or subtract something due to the stimulating exercise.

With all of this in mind, I find that the key ingredient to helping elementary aged kids learn is patience. Sure there are things you can do to help them be more attentive. There are also things you can avoid. However, at the end of the day, they are young kids with wandering minds. Therefore, try your best to have patience when they need time to fully grasp what you are teaching them.

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