Students who are mentally prepared for class and know what to expect from the day’s schedule are able to be more attentive and focused on course material. In this video, Tina Grotzer demonstrates different ways to help students feel present in the classroom and allocate their mental energy to the day’s learning.
Tina Grotzer, Principal Research Scientist in Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Applying Cognitive Science to Teaching and Learning
- Creating routines to start or end each class, such as posting the day’s agenda in an opening slideshow or reviewing upcoming logistics before dismissing students, can help students allocate their mental energy to course content and learning.
- How students experience a course can play a role in their attentiveness. Consider factors like when the course is scheduled, how often it meets, semester milestones, and other aspects of student life as you build in opportunities for students to prepare for class and focus.
- Emotionally excited students or students who lack focus might be less able to self-regulate their learning in class. According to Ben-Eliyahu and Linnenbrink-Garcia students need help regulating anxiety or excitement and preparing an appropriate study environment. This research suggests that providing a transitional phase at the start of class can best situate students to make the most of their course-based learning (2015).
- This Chronicle of Higher Education piece provides suggestions for utilizing the first five minutes of class to transition students from the outside world to the classroom.
- Harvard Business School reminds us that students are not the only ones who need time to prepare mentally for class; instructors benefit from this practice as well!