Classrooms are now vastly different from the ones today’s parents were accustomed to when they were children. Technology has changed the face of classrooms, and while digital classrooms have revolutionized the ways kids learn, they also can make it more difficult for students to concentrate.
Computers, tablets and smartphones can be invaluable resources for teachers and students. But when such devices compromise student’s ability to concentrate, parents may need to embrace various techniques aimed at improving kids’ ability to concentrate.
1. Discourage personal devices in the classroom.
Computers and tablets can expand learning opportunities in the classroom, but parents who want their kids to focus on lessons can discourage the use of personal devices, such as smartphones or personal tablets, in the classroom. As noted by the Child Mind® Institute, apps and web content are designed to be user-friendly and addictive. In addition, modern youngsters socialize through their smartphones. Alerts or messages from social media apps or friends can distract kids from their lessons, which may adversely affect their academic performance. Unless teachers ask students to bring their personal devices to class, parents can discourage, if not restrict, their children to bring their smartphones or tablets with them to class.
2. Limit multitasking.
A 2009 study from researchers at Stanford University found that heavy media multitaskers were more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory than light media multitaskers. Students who try to do too much at once may think they’re getting a lot done, but dividing their attention among several subjects may make it harder for them to fully understand or learn their class lessons. When studying, students who concentrate on one subject or task may understand materials more fluently than those who divide their attention among subjects or those who focus on studying while also performing other tasks.
3. Encourage strategic breaks.
The Academic Success Center at Oregon State University notes that taking breaks can improve concentration and make studying more efficient and effective. When taking study breaks, students should set time limits on their breaks and change their scenery. Walking away from a book, device or computer screen for 10 minutes can help students avoid fatigue that can develop when they study for too long without a break. That fatigue can affect students’ ability to absorb the lessons they’re trying to learn, so parents can encourage students to take strategic breaks. Once per hour might be enough, but some students may benefit from more frequent breaks.
The competition for kids attention in the classroom is greater than ever before. As a result, parents may need to encourage their children to embrace various strategies that can improve their concentration.