Concentration and memory are essential for children, especially when they are in their most formative years: between the ages of two and twelve. What they learn during these years will come to play a crucial role in shaping them, and their lives ahead. We understand kids are faced with more distractions today than ever before and can find it challenging to study in secondary school in Jurong, learn or spend more time than required on a particular task. This doesn’t mean we give in to a new world order. Without good concentration skills, kids cannot imbibe or retain new information, which is unsuitable for a growing child. This is why so much emphasis is laid on improving the memory and concentration of students, and researchers have come up with several techniques to boost them.
Factors that impact concentration
Both concentration and attention spans can vary for multiple reasons. Age, lack of sleep, and individual challenges are a few factors that can affect concentration. As humans grow older, it does become harder to concentrate for prolonged periods. Also, if someone has suffered brain or head injuries, like a concussion, or has any mental health conditions, it can affect concentration. Lack of concentration leads to frustration, especially if an individual is trying to concentrate but can’t get themselves to. Young learners can get really stressed and feel irritated when they spend hours on a page without grasping anything.
If you as a teacher, or parent, are baffled over ways of improving concentration power in your students and children – the following can help you:
Training the mind
Get kids to play games that help improve concentration- sudoku, chess, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, memory games, or word search games. Conduct some class competitions as well to make this fun for the kids. Spending even fifteen minutes daily for five days a week on such brain training games can enhance concentration. Brain training games also help with short-term memory development, and sharpen problem-solving skills and processing abilities. Mostly IGCSE curriculum follows these games for students to train their minds, and the IGCSE fees structure is also affordable.
Rely on Visual Aids
Visual aids are a great way of enhancing memory and concentration in students. According to research, children (even adults) tend to retain visual images better than the words they read. Young learners will always remember things they see over the things they read or hear about. Make study guides using pictures and include visual storytelling as this will go the extra mile toward improving concentration. Ask them to draw something they’ve learned over the day and include flashcards in your teaching for good measure, as it is an effective way to boost concentration and retention.
Create student study schedules and make them stick to it
Get kids to make a proper schedule for the day – to help them focus on their tasks and recall them. Instead of studying at odd hours, have them make a schedule to play, nap and study. This will also help kids retain what they learn. Without a schedule, a sense of carelessness can seep into their fledgling minds, making it difficult for them to prioritize and concentrate. If a proper schedule is set, they will know exactly when they can play or when they can eat. This way, they won’t get sleepy while studying nor will they shy away from going out and playing. Get the kids onboard and ask them how they’d like to go about it; make their schedule with them, not for them. Do not chide them if they can’t follow their set routines all the time, instead, encourage them to manage their time and reward them for keeping with their schedule.
Let them be the teachers
Role reversal is another great technique to boost concentration. Ask your students to explain any concept in their books to you and listen attentively when they teach you. To gauge their understanding, ask them questions and have a two-way discussion – this will help them remember concepts with greater ease. When study time becomes interactive and kids are given some responsibility, they automatically want to focus and give it their all. Instead of being a strict instructor who uses a top-down approach, include activities and games that kids enjoy. Try to be their study partner instead of their teacher; interact with the students and learn alongside them instead of intimidating them. Solve tough questions together and use enjoyable teaching and learning techniques.
Include naps, exercise and mindful practices in the schedule
Nobody can focus on work without good sleep, especially kids. Sleep is integral to improved memory and an increased concentration rate. Parents should ensure their kids get at least eight hours of sleep daily, as sleep deprivation is one of the prime reasons for poor focus.
Make sure they play and exercise outdoors. Even some physical activity can make them feel energetic and fresh, all of which go into sharpening their minds and improving their ability to concentrate. Even a power nap at school will rejuvenate them and help them study better.
Mindful practices such as meditation have numerous benefits, and improved concentration is just one of the few. Sitting with your eyes shut, deep breathing, and yoga, are a few proven concentration-boosting techniques.
Spend time in nature
Plan some outdoor activities, take a class on the school lawns and expose the children to natural environments. Exposure to greenery and trees at school, at home, or in the neighborhood may improve concentration in children. Children with attention disorders such as ADHD can think more clearly, be in a better mood and increase social interactions by spending time in nature.
Ask children to Create Examples
Practical information helps kids retain things better, and an excellent way to improve learning is to make them use what they learn: practically. When teaching a subject like science and trying to introduce concepts, do some experiments and make them do some simple ones on their own. A concept like germination or condensation will be much better understood if shown via an experiment. As for mathematics and language subjects, ask children to create their examples. If a child can come up with more examples, it indicates a better understanding of the concept.
Create a Distraction-free Zone for studying
Study areas should be solely dedicated to studying. For parents: get rid of gadgets, clutter, and other distractions from the study area. This area should be fun as well as peaceful. If your child is young, prep the study desk beforehand so that all things needed are within their reach. This way they don’t need to get up to get anything, and their concentration does not break.
In the end, reward and acknowledge your kids’ efforts. Give them little treats and use words of appreciation when they successfully finish a task. Appreciation is a huge motivator.
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