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To every teacher, we would like to know how long the attention span of children in the classroom lasts. And it is that this factor depends on different basic psychological processes, such as motivation, the emotion of the moment, the time of day or the type of task. In addition, we can add space, temperature, location in the classroom ...
It is important to reflect on all this, in order to optimize the resources we have, both our own, as well as those of the space and the environment, and thus promote a greater time of conscious attention in children.
Sustained attention, understood as the ability to maintain attention focus on an activity or stimulus for a long period of time, is what we intend to achieve in students. But well, how long does that sustained attention last? Is it enough time to be able to give the necessary explanations about a content? Is it the same in all boys and girls?
Recent studies confirm that the ability of [email protected] to maintain sustained attention varies, on average, between 10 and 20 minutes. This suggests and invites us to organize the class session in a certain way, that is, it is advisable to divide the session time into blocks that do not exceed approximately 15 minutes. Thus, in this way we also offer time for the subsequent processing and consolidation of the information, to which we will add some type of practice if the subject allows it.
Therefore, a class session should be started with the fundamental objective of awakening the interest and curiosity of the group, having the opportunity to give important content in those first few minutes, since it is better remembered what is done at the beginning of the session; in the middle we can facilitate reflection and dynamics through cooperative work, and end the class segment with a review of the priority seen above. In any case, it is about favoring, facilitating the understanding and assimilation of the subjects, getting the student to maintain active and useful attention, it will be our great achievement.
A few days ago I listened to a wonderful presentation by the astrophysicist and professor of neuroeducation, Jesús C. Guillén, in which he presented us with various investigations in this regard, and recommended, among other things, for a somewhat more intense session:
- Take 4 minute breaks, breaks in the subject, breaks that involve movement in the classroom and after those 4 minutes continue with the subject. I think that it would be a magnificent proposal to incorporate ESO or Baccalaureate, something that is compatible with the famous master classes.
- On the other hand, regarding the distribution of subjects throughout the school day, Guillén also stated that better attentional results are being demonstrated when in the first hour of the morning areas such as Physical or Artistic Education are taught and at midmorning a Science area, for example.
Finally, I neither want nor can I put aside the emotional issue, since emotions can make it easier or more difficult to attend in the classroom. A positive environment favors concentration and disposes, to a greater extent, the student and the student, to learning. And that pleasant emotion, let's not forget, begins with the teacher. We have to become a little magicians and magicians, be a bit of attention conjurers and thus achieve better results.
“Curiosity, what is different and stands out in the environment, ignites the emotion. And with it, with emotion, the windows of attention open, a necessary focus for the creation of knowledge ”Francisco Mora
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