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Pay attention! 5 ways to improve your students’ attention spans

E-School News – Cory Armes

“Paying attention sounds easy. But is it really? How many times have we reprimanded students for not paying attention? Attention is the ability to focus on information and tasks while ignoring distractions. We know that fluent reading requires sustained and focused attention, yet attention spans are declining. A 2015 study by Microsoft reported that, since the year 2000, the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Researchers theorize that a weaker attention span may be a side effect of the mobile revolution and an increasingly digitized lifestyle. Many of these distractions begin long before adulthood. Consider these statistics about smartphones:” (more)

Students more engaged and attentive following outdoor lesson in nature

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A study recently published in open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology has found that 9-10 year-old children are significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork following an outdoor lesson in nature. Strikingly, this “nature effect” allowed teachers to teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long during a subsequent indoor lesson. The results suggest that outdoor lessons may be an inexpensive and convenient way to improve student engagement – a major factor in academic achievement.”(more)

Quick Classroom Exercises to Combat Stress

Edutopia – Dr. Lori Desautels

“The trauma and adversity that students are carrying into classrooms are changing how educators need to address learning and academic performance. Fifty-one percent of children in public schools live in low-income households, and when poverty levels exceed 50 percent, there’s a significant drop in academic performance across all grade levels. At the same time, 25 percent of all adolescents—including 30 percent of adolescent girls—are experiencing anxiety disorders.”(more)

While adults focus their attention, children see everything: study

Medical X-Press – Jeff Grabmeier

“Although adults can beat children at most cognitive tasks, new research shows that children’s limitations can sometimes be their strength. In two studies, researchers found that adults were very good at remembering information they were told to focus on, and ignoring the rest. In contrast, 4- to 5-year-olds tended to pay attention to all the information that was presented to them – even when they were told to focus on one particular item. That helped children to notice things that adults didn’t catch because of the grownups’ selective attention.”(more)

Language learning aids attention, study says

Know Ridge Staff Writer

“Mental agility can be boosted by even a short period of learning a language, a study suggests. Tests carried out on students of all ages suggest that acquiring a new language improves a person’s attention, after only a week of study. Researchers also found that these benefits could be maintained with regular practice.”(more)

New Duke study: Early attention skills most consistent predictor of academic success

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Maureen Downey

“A new Duke University study suggests problems paying attention in school in early childhood can foreshadow academic challenges later, including graduating from high school. Such students are 40 percent less likely to graduate, according to the study…The study confirms what many teachers have pointed out on the blog: Patterns are set early. Teachers often say they can predict in fifth grade which students will fail to finish high school…With this study, researchers examined early academic, attention and socioemotional skills and how each contributed to academic success into young adulthood. They found early attention skills were the most consistent predictor of academic success.”(more)