Effective Teaching: Hold Your Students’ Attention So Powerfully They’ll Beg You To Stay Longer In Class
Imagine the following scenario:
1. It’s the first day of school. Your students walk into the classroom laughing, talking, and genuinely happy to see eachother again. They begin to take their seats and, shockingly, some even say hi to you. The noise keeps on growing and you keep on thinking, “What can I do to grab their attention so they want to listen?” Unsure, you welcome everyone in and begin the year the same way you always have. While some students do listen, you don’t get the reaction you dreamed of. You wish there was a way to start the new year so that they’re so enraptured with your presentation you could actually hear a pin drop.
You can do this with these 4 quick effective teaching tips.
1. The Desire Method
The reason it’s so hard for teachers to grab their students attention is because most teachers make the classic’About A Topic’ mistake. The’About A Topic’ mistake is when you teach’About A Topic’. Whether it’s American History, Chemistry, or any other topic you could possible think of, when you talk’About’ it, you lose people’s attention.
The solution is not to teach’About A Topic’ but instead to teach’For The Student’. Meaning, the Student needs to immediately feel the benefit of the content you are teaching. When you show a benefit, you create desire. And where there’s desire, you guessed it, you hold attention.
Here’s a quick start to use the Desire Method. As you know, the absolute most important part of effective teaching is how you start. If you begin the wrong way, it’s near impossible to get your student’s attention back. Never start with a typical’Welcome’ or’Here’s what we’re going to learn today’ (classic’AAT’ Mistake). Instead, begin your content with Headlines and with Hooks.
A Headline is a short sentence that boils down the core benefit of being part of the class. For example, take a look at what you’re reading right now: You’re reading this sentence now because it began with a Headline that caught your attention: 4 New “Effective Teaching” Methods To WOW Your Students.
A Headline is a Promise. What can your content promise your students? If you delve into your students minds, you’ll discover exactly how they want to learn, and, trust us, they’re hungry for wisdom. But they need to see how your content is a benefit for them. For example, learning about the American Revolution could show them how to be an effective leader, how to bring about a movement of change, the principles of starting something new (whether it’s a company or a country or an app), etc. Or, the better a student is at Mathematics (whether it’s 4th grade math or advanced geometry) the better they’ll be able to Code (which is all about math and algorithms) and create innovative businesses and technology.
2. Feel The Pain
The second best effective teaching tip is to have students feel the pain of missing this benefit. Notice also how I began this post. I clearly framed a painful situation many teachers face in terms of desperately trying to get the attention of their class. After I gave the Headline with a Hook, you were drawn closer in because of the painful scenario.
The pain is always the emphasis of lack. So if the benefit is Attention, the lack of Attention is the pain. Think about it this way: If your students are LACKING the content they’re about to learn, what impact would that have? How does NOT knowing your content ultimately hurt their future success?
The best form of pain is proof and/or giving a specific example. If Steve Jobs had mastered the leadership secrets of George Washington would he have been fired from Apple? Who are people you know who were worse off because they lacked the knowledge you’re about to gain?
3. The Preview Strategy: How To Create Anticipation For Your Curriculum
Here’s a brilliant effective teaching strategy for you: Create anticipation for your curriculum.
Most teachers start the year by saying something general like, “This year is going to be great, you’re going to learn all about….” – classic AAT mistake. Instead, build up the benefit, value, pain, lack and top it off with a Preview: “…but you’ll only learn the 4 secrets to George Washington’s Leadership Success in a few months…”
Did you feel that? Now your students CAN’T learn something? They can’t have something they WANT right now? Super powerful, 100% attention hacker gold.
Think Hollywood. They never just release a movie, it’s against attention hacking DNA. Every movie ever released from Hollywood is first launched with a Preview. You go to see a movie and before that movie begins – you’re shown 5 movies that are’Coming Soon’. Then you see the Preview again on TV or YouTube and you can’t wait for it to come out because of all the anticipation they created for you.
4. A Wild Secret for Effective Teaching: Teach with VAK
Here’s something you already know: There are 3 main types of learners – Visual, Audio, and Kinesthetic. To really master effective teaching, notice which type your students are.
Visual is seeing the material, Audio is hearing the material, and Kinesthetic is feeling the material. Meaning, the optimal learning environment is NOT to sit passively waiting for a lecture to end. The IDEAL learning environment is when the Student sees, hears, and feels the material themselves.
That’s why making animated videos and presentations has become such a popular new medium of effective teaching recently. Animated videos hit the Audio and Visual, and when the Student creates one themselves, it hits the Kinesthetic type too.