Getting students mentally ready for class


Tina Grotzer, Principal Research Scientist in Education

Student Group



Harvard Graduate School of Education


Applying Cognitive Science to Teaching and Learning

Group Size

35 students

  • 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).