“Teachers can help students manage their attention by helping them offload the more routine, attention-robbing tasks to others. The students may not have access to an army of “executive assistants” (other than their parents), but teachers can nevertheless look for ways to reduce the tension load, and eliminate as many routine tasks from their list of responsibilities as is practical. Web-based calendars with alarms can be used to help students keep track of their class schedules, as well as due dates for homework or tests. ”
-from the Annenberg Learner website
Reflection is a huge part of my art education pedagogy. Reflecting as a teacher and asking students to reflect on their own understandings.
A very simple reflective practice to use in the art classroom is to continually ask students their definition of art. Asking students this question throughout a course provokes students to mindfully reevaluate their understanding of art and its function in society.
Keep yourself on track when speaking or the group during discussions and ask a student to keep time. I find this especially helpful during art critiques when there is a large number of works to talk about. Asking for students to help you keeps the student engaged and reminds everyone to keep their discussion succinct.
Imagine you show up for work at a new job and you don’t know what you are supposed to do and your boss tells you about your first project but does not tell you how long you will be working on it or what you will be doing after.
This mirrors the experience of students when they do not have a clear picture of what they are doing for the day.
Writing out the question of the day and the agenda is an easy way to give students a clear picture of what the day looks like.
Thank You, Joseph Fusaro for always giving our class a clear agenda!
Attention span for learning = Chronological age in minutes
This applies to lecture style teaching that does not ask students to engage or move around. Basically, a 10-year-old should not be given verbal instruction for longer than 10 minutes at a time.
I saw this idea in an article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development that talked about success portfolios.
First, Discover Their Strengths
A neurodiversity perspective can help educators create learning environments in which all students flourish.
I feel it’s so important to have fun and embrace the personality of your students. One of my colleagues told me about a ritual she does with her elementary school students where she allows a student once a day to teach for 5 minutes. Her students love the opportunity to fulfill the role of a teacher.
I see this ritual and the one described by Julie Diamond in her book as opportunities to embrace and utilize the energy and interest of the students.
“One year, in the fall, I accidentally held the name cards upside down as I took attendance. The children were gleeful, and the next day, asked me to do it that way again.
They were, perhaps, seeing what they could get away with—what they could control in this new classroom. This became a frequent request. One day, some children wanted the cards held upside down, and other children objected. We had a vote.”
– Quote from Kindergarten by Julie Diamond