If you are teaching students how to type and find that they get distracted easily, we have some ideas on how you can help your students stay focused during each typing lesson.
Physical activity is important. While you are teaching a sedentary skill that has students at their desks for long periods of time, you still want to find ways to get kids active and get the blood pumping. This is known to increase focus and brain activity. You can do short spurts and just do easy tasks like jumping jacks or jogging in place.
Add some music to the lesson. Like physical activity, music is known to increase focus and improve thinking. Try some subtle background music while your students are typing. Keep it low-key like jazz or classical so nobody gets carried away with dancing and gets distracted! (Typesy will be adding this feature soon)
Adjust your expectations of attention. If you have ever tried to train a puppy and find that you get about 10 sections of attention for every 10 minutes of chasing a leaf or a paper bag, you know the feeling of distraction. Kids are growing and maturing and cannot devote 12-hour blocks of time to reading War and Peace. Try short 5 minute blocks of typing, and then mix in some games or other activities.
Take away what distractions you can. While you should anticipate a short attention span, that doesn’t mean you should not remove as many distractions as you can. If your students are focused, try to make that last as long as you can. Take away visual cues in the room that might distract them. Do not have games out that they can spot and want to play with. Hide the games and toys and bring them out when they have earned a reward or it is time for a break.
Play some typing games. A lot of tasks are more fun if you can find ways to make them competitive or enjoyable. This does not mean you have to offer Olympic gold medals for typing the fastest or punish the kid who does the worst. You might find ways to encourage some friendly banter and help set goals they will want to work hard to achieve, which will, in turn, improve their typing.
Simplify the process. If you are attempting to teach a big lesson, your students to not have to know how big the lesson is. Break things into smaller components, so they can process the instruction better and feel a sense of accomplishment after a shorter task. And, you’ll feel better too since you can check off a small piece of instruction!
Focus on improving memory. Not all of your typing instructions have to be about typing. Half the battle is muscle memory and remembering where your fingers should move as they are moving. When your students get bored with typing, find ways to work on their memory. Play some games that work on memory. Depending on the age level you are working with, this can be as simple as an old-fashioned game of Simon Says!
While teaching a young student any task like typing can be difficult, if you are able to minimize distractions and properly build in some activities, you can help your students focus on typing. Typing can be monotonous, so finding ways to spice it up can be the key to avoiding boredom! You might find some kids struggle more than others, and that’s ok. Maybe have some extra games or tricks for those that need it.
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