How to get the students to follow your instructions so that you can give a rockstar lesson?

Here below are the refocusing strategies introduced by our new volunteer training manager Claire to get students’ attention in class. Enjoy!

The process of getting your students’ attention – without getting frustrated and raising your voice – is challenging. Luckily, there are proven ways to control the mayhem and get your class to listen. The strategy can be anything from a sound, to a physical movement, as long as you are breaking students’ pattern or behaviour by interrupting them with an unexpected stimulus. This stimulus is referred to as “Refocusing” in our lesson plans.

Here are several ways to get your students’ attention without raising your voice:

1. Clap routine. Clap or snap in patterns and have students repeat the patterns back. Using familiar beats (from popular music or children’s songs) really gets kids’ attention. For example, “dah-dah-dahdahdah”.

2. Call-and-response. You say X and they say Y. For example, “ 1,2,3, eyes on me –>3,2,1, eyes on you”; “ready to rock –> ready to roll”; “Class, class –> Yes, yes”(vary the speed, tone, volume, etc and have students match it.)

3. The “Give Me Five” technique. The teacher raises his/her hands and the class follows. As each finger is lifted everyone says: (1)Eyes – look (2) Ears – Listen (3) Mouth – Closed (4) Hands – still (5) Feet – quiet. This would work better with high graders than lower ones. But you need to board these words for the first several times.

Try these strategies for multiple times in class and you will see students start to pick up the pattern and react accordingly. Check out this 8-second long clip for a real-life demonstration of the call-and-response technique.