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Showing posts with label attention span. Show all posts
Showing posts with label attention span. Show all posts

Why Can't Children Pay Attention During Online Learning?

I've heard many complaints about young children who aren't able to stay attentive during online classes.

Are you finding this to be the case?
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.
 
Of course you are! Why? Because children were never meant to spend hours paying attention to a screen!

Yes, I know what you're thinking: but my kid can pay attention to a screen for hours when it's a video game!

Well, yes, there are hours of planning, creating, coding, and designing going into the constant stimulation of a video game. That's not realistic in an online classroom setting.
Plus, we know that's not in their best interest. (See this blog post: Avoiding TOO MUCH screen time!)

But paying attention to a teacher all day while sitting at the computer? Wow, that's a totally different story!

Here are a few reasons why it's hard for them:
 

Emotional Needs

Most teachers are familiar with the expression, "Maslow Before Blooms!" Maslow is known for his Hierachy of Needs. Besides those very basic needs of food, warmth, and rest, are the emotional needs of security and safety. Along with those are a need to feel important, included, and respected.

As much as teachers and parents are trying, with our crazy world these days, these needs are not always being met. Social distancing makes it all so much tougher!

Limited Attention Spans!

Research tells us that a child's attention span is roughly the child's age, plus or minus 5 minutes. That means the maximum attention span for a Kindergartener is ten minutes, tops! This maxes out at 20 minutes for teenagers and beyond. Yes, I'm sure your mind starts to drift after about 20 minutes, doesn't it?

Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 Distractions!

Sitting at a computer and paying attention to a lesson is even harder when there are a plethora of distractions about, including: a friend in the same Zoom, a sibling getting attention in the same room, the TV in the background, a pet, knowing the toys are right nearby, and the child's own thought process!

In school, a teacher simply could walk past a student's desk to bring them back into focus, but that can't happen online!
 
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

What can we do about it?

Yes, learning online is a whole lot harder than learning in class, but all is not lost. I certainly don't have all the answers, but here are some ideas:
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 Develop Relationships

It's tougher to get to know children online than it is in class, but it's possible! I find morning meetings are a great way to get to know your students and build community. Just be careful: when sharing, don't make the little ones wait too long for their own turn. Remember those attention spans! (Don't forget to review rules of listening, including looking at the speaker and sitting still. Plus, review the rules of speaking, including speaking clearly and keeping it short!)
 
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 Respect Their Developmental Needs

 
Children need to move! Please don't expect them to sit still for long periods. There are plenty of brain breaks that can be done online. (Go Noodle, for one!) Plus, there are plenty of learning games that can be done online or in a socially distant classroom.
 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

Incorporate the Arts!

If you've ever read my blog before, you'll know that I'm a huge supporter of the arts, and try to include these in my teaching in every way possible. (Yes, I have a master's degree in Creative Arts in Learning!) It's a great idea to include drawing or creating in many lessons, as these internalize learning, but don't forget the other arts! Art is considered any expression of emotion, and people express their emotions in different ways. 
 
All of these are considered arts: 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

Examples of the Arts

This is just a partial list of my personal definition of the arts. I think you'll agree, both parenting and teaching are arts, aren't they? Seriously, any way that people have to express themselves creatively counts!  I'm sure you have things you are passionate about that you could add to this list!
 
Some related posts: 

Please remember!

This is a very challenging time in our world. I'm not sure all administrators would agree with me, but academics are not our priority right now. Our children are experiencing several levels of trauma. We need to be there for them. Academics will come later. Yes, I promise you, they'll all catch up!

Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 
Why can't children pay attention during online learning? There are several reasons why this is tough for children. Here are a few ideas.

 

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