If you’re a teacher who struggles to get your class to pay attention when you want them to, you might want to consider one of the following tactics or use a combination of the below to surprise your students. You never know; they might become a regular part of your classroom.
Students are used to hearing a bell to signal the class is over or their break times. A bell can also work well in a classroom to get the attention of the students when they’re talking among themselves or working on a group project. A bell cuts through the classroom noise and piques the students' attention. Once they’re looking your way, you can tell them to be quiet and pay attention.
Flickering the lights
Some teachers opt to flicker the lights to get their students' attention; this will draw them away from their current conversation and encourage them to pay attention to you, the teacher. This is a good option if you don’t have any physical aids that you have brought with you to class or you’re improvising at the moment. However, you may need to be careful not to flash the lights too quickly, as some students may have epilepsy.
Raising your hand
Another simple solution for more observant classes is to raise your hand and wait for the students to notice. If the class is polite and well-behaved, they will most likely stop what they’re doing and pay attention to you, the teacher. This method requires no specific aid but is not always as effective as using noise or visual aid that interrupts the students talking. You might also need to speak loudly or shout to get the students' attention.
Whistles are commonly used on the playground to stop students or kids from fighting. They’re great for this purpose because they travel over long distances and are a sharp, sudden noise that the students will stop and pay attention to, even during a fight. Teachers should never get involved physically with two students in a disagreement, but a whistle is a good way to get their attention. Whistles also work well in the gym; they cut through the noise of students talking and playing on various different pieces of equipment. A
can be used in the classroom, but teachers should select more soothing whistle sounds or unusual sounds that students don't expect. A regular whistle's sharp, loud noise can be unpleasant and put students in a bad mood. Locomotive and duck whistles are better options than your standard whistle sound in the classroom.
Music can be very soothing, exhilarating or invoke certain emotions in students; this is a great way to get them prepared for your class and allows them to focus on what they’re hearing. Some teachers use different music pieces to set the scene for the class or the next piece of work or activity. You might need a music licence to play music in your classroom, so just check that your school has the ability to do this.
Enlist the help of other students
Students might pay more attention to each other if you can have a word with one of the louder students and get them to pay attention and speak to the students around them; the message will soon pass around the room. The students will tell each other to pay attention to the front of the class, and you won't need to strain your voice or get frustrated with any rude behaviour. This sometimes works but completely depends on the class you’re teaching.
There are so many different ways and teaching aids you can use to get the attention of your class. Try one of these techniques next time you're having trouble getting your students' attention. Shouting is a common way that teachers choose to get their students' attention. However, it might not be the most effective or kind way to encourage them to pay attention and participate in class. If you’re planning something that is loud or might distract other classrooms, you should ask the teachers working around you if they have any issues with your approach before you use it on your students.