In this age of technology, we encounter a lot of students who would rather focus on their gadgets than classwork. So how do we keep the student’s attention in the classroom when faced with iPods, smart phones, and Nintendos?
There is no silver bullet, but several options available to the teacher.
- Continue teaching as though nothing is out of the ordinary.
This tactic is perhaps the most effective when it comes to moving through the material, but when you require interaction from the student, they are often lost. Therefore, when the student becomes interested in their gadgets, move to a book and read aloud to them.
- Remove the offending device.
When the student is too engrossed in an “emergency” phone call, it is effective to let them know that you are in a classroom environment and distractions and counterproductive by gently but firmly taking hold of their phone and hanging up/turning it off. The phone or gadget may then be placed in your shirt or pants pocket.
If the student can politely explain why they need their phone by speaking for more than a minute, they may have it back. If not, they may have it back after the class.
- Fight fire with fire.
If the student is more interested than a single gadget than an entire language, demonstrate how incorrect they are by pulling out a gadget of your own. If the student wants to check an E-mail, use that time to turn on your Nintendo or Tetris and play until the student is finished.
No matter the age, many students are prone to undesirable behavior when parting with their devices. Do not let any degree of complaints or physical actions grant them the gadget, otherwise their negative behavior will manifest in future classes. It is very important that they effectively use English to convince you to give them the device back.