And when we know why, let's talk about how.
Then you can write and tell me what you do to surprise your students.
Why bother? Your students live in a highly stimulating world. They are connected to stimulating audio-visual media almost 24-7, and their attention is repeatedly pulled this way and that by the latest and craziest distraction. So when they come into your classroom their heads are spinning, their focus elsewhere; and in order to teach them something, you will need to grab their attention and refocus it on the lesson.
How do other teachers do this?
- Some teachers greet their students in the classroom doorway and make eye contact, shake hands, say a few well-chosen words.
- Some teachers dress up in unusual clothes, play music, show slides, tell stories, tell jokes, issue a collaborative pre-lesson survey (test), or command silence.
- Some teachers rearrange the chairs and tables, dim the lights, lay out workbooks or set up a round robin of related activities.
- Once, I started a morning lesson wearing a dressing gown, with a towel over my shoulder and a toothbrush in my pocket. The students, baffled by my unexpected choice of clothes, shifted their focus to the 'here and now', and I was more able to catch and hold their attention. By the way, I'm a maths teacher!
Tell me. I would love to hear what you do to surprise your students. Share your experiences and suggestions here and let's see how many students we can surprise on a global scale.