5 ways to keep adults’ attention

5 ways to keep adults’ attention

In the evening after a hard working day or in the morning in case a student stayed up late the day before the lesson, it seems almost impossible to attract student’s attention. In the first case, the student’s thought can be still at work captured by current working issues. In the second one, the thought can still be absent 🙂 I mean the student can be sleepy and experiences some hardship with concentrating on the task. With children it seems simpler: sing a song, move around, apply TPR, jump, run, and they are all engaged. So, if you have experienced such a problem with adults at least once, this article is for you. We have collected 5 effective ways on how to keep your adult students’ attention.

  1. Vary your activities. Any person can get bored and distracted in case you read a long text passage all the lesson or listen to the same audio multiple times because the student can’t catch what it is about. So, try to plan varying activities (e.g. effective warm-up and lead-in, then vocabulary game to revise what was learned in the previous lesson, then read a story and discuss it, assume how the main character could have acted in a different way, think of a new ending, make students stand up and do a mingling activity, watch a video without sound and try to guess what’s going on – you are limited only with your imagination 🙂 ) and include numerous discussion topics. 
  2. Use brain breaks (i.e. pauses between different kinds of activities to have a short rest and proceed working more effectively). Does the student seem to have overworked? You may include in the middle of the lesson a short speaking game or watch a short video from YouTube (for example, from the channel “A daily dose of Internet”) and discuss it for several minutes. This 5-minute break can make a difference in further perception of the material.
  3. Explain the goals of the lesson and each step of the lesson. The student may be confused and demotivated in case you start teaching the topic of no interest for them. Hence, you should explain why the student is learning it or, which is better, ask the student to think of how and where he/she can apply this piece of knowledge. For instance, you learn the topic ‘Sport’. The student does not seem engaged and distracts all the time. You can ask him where they can use such phrases as ‘end in a draw’, ‘compete’, ‘it was a nil-nil’, ‘win’, ‘bit’. In case a student is a businessman or communicates with customers, he/she can use the words to talk about the results of negotiations. Moreover, his/her international clients or partners can be interested in sport, and to find something that unites them and clients (to get the result they want), they should know the specific vocabulary to talk about sport.
  4. Make it personal. All people like talking about themselves. Ask a student to tell you about their experience, make true (or fake, why not?) sentences about themselves, ask them how would they act in this or that situation.
  5. Pay attention to the student’s mood. If you see that a student is tired and simply can not learn something new, you should be able to change the lesson plan and do some other activities: you may revise what you have learned at previous lessons, watch a video and discuss it, listen to a song, do some activities with it and sing along, play a game or just talk.

All in all, while having an individual lesson, your student should be in the centre of it. Stay enthusiastic, engaged, vary your activities and adapt them to the particular need of your student. 

Do you always adapt the curriculum and lesson plans to your students’ needs and mood? Share in comments!




Наталия Мушкарева

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