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How to Organize Activities for Students with Shorter Attention Spans

How to Organize Activities for Students with Shorter Attention Spans | ITTT | TEFL Blog

The previous teaching method in Malaysia used to be chalk and talk. Chalk and talk method are much more on teacher talking rather the students. The teacher will be the one who talks and students just to listen or receive the information from the teacher. In this case, it will become a problem for those students with shorter attention spans and the other students will lose attention easily as well. This method also cannot evaluate a student’s understanding of the lessons that have been taught. The teacher should plan a lesson that includes explanations/elicits, activities to strengthen student’s understanding and evaluate student’s understanding. Usually, students with shorter attention spans easily get boring during the lesson, sometimes might because of less understanding. What kind of activities can get student’s attention? How to run activities for students with shorter attention spans?

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Eunice L. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.


In my opinion, no matter what kind of activities can gain students' attention, it is more dependent on is that suitable activity or related activities to the lesson, and how the teacher organizes the activities. Here, I am going to share my opinion, understanding, and experience to let the students with shorter attention spans learn effectively.

children and teacher playing

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The teacher needs to well prepare for the planned activities that need to run in the lesson. The first thing that a teacher needs to have a clear understanding of the aim of the lesson. So that the teacher can plan what activity is going to run and how the activity is going to be run. The teacher needs to make sure the activities are suitable for the level of the students and related to the lesson. Plan activity is not just to get students' attention but then it can help students to learn through a fun way and understand the lesson more easily. The teacher also needs to prepare the required materials and test run the activities. The teacher can have a plan B or modify the activity after test run activity if necessary. Well prepare for an activity is very important so that the activity will run smoothly.

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Additional Materials

Next, choose the suitable materials are important too. In this time, the teacher needs to be creative to choose materials and utilize the materials to students. Sometimes simple material can be useful such as a flashcard with pictures and words. Flashcard can stimulate student’s visualization and it helps students to understand and remember easily. There are many ways of how to use the materials to run an interesting activity, it just depends on how creative the teacher is to get student’s attention and how to get students to understand a concept or thing. A fun activity with a suitable material can gain attention from students with shorter attention spans. Nowadays, many advanced technologies can be used by the teacher as materials while teaching. The teacher should know how to utilize the technologies to maximize student’s performance. During the lesson, the teacher should bring the real object to show and elicit to students to enhance visual learning or else the teacher also can use pictures. Usually, the teacher will use an overhead projector to show students pictures or chart, sometimes it is better to use pictures and project it bigger to show in the classroom. Students with shorter attention spans can learn through visual and activities.

table game

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Lastly, the instructions of the activity given must be simple and short. It makes activities run smoothly because students have a clear understanding of what they are going to do in the activity. Usually, students with short attention spans can’t understand long or complicated instructions and they will not feel like participating in the activity. When the instructions too long or complicated, this will become a barrier to students to participate and learn things through activity. The teacher should well understand about the student’s level or understand to give a simple and short instruction to run the activities smoothly and achieve the aim of the lesson.

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In conclusion, activities make fun of learning and strengthen student’s memory and understanding about what has been taught. The teacher needs to well prepare for the activities, choose suitable materials and give short and simple instructions for the activities. It will help students with short attention spans to learn well and it can optimize their performance. The teacher should talk less and ask more questions then increase the student’s talk time. The lesson will be more effective and the learning process will have a lot of fun.

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