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An ICAN Case Study:

Addressing Short Attention Span

Students’ Attention Span Has an Impact in Learning


Teachers know it can often be difficult to keep the student’s attention, especially in a more traditional classroom. Learning styles, personal technology, and the collaborative spirit are some of the things the teachers should consider. Thus, as our learners have changed, the teaching environment has changed to accommodate them.  Although teachers understand that to keep students’ attention, they must both connect and inspire, it can still be a struggle. As such, they need methods for grabbing the attention of their kids and keeping it fixated on meaningful learning in the classroom.  The study was initiated because of a student’s performance in one of his classes. The pinpointed cause is about his short attention span. 

Challenges and Objectives



- To identify challenges face by the teachers during teaching learning process.  - To come up with effective ways on how to handle students with short attention span.  


Problems encountered by the teacher

- The student refuses to follow teachers command such as writing, reading, and finishing his task.

- The teachers are having a hard time catching his attention, especially during the second hour.

- The student insisted on watching videos in YouTube. Only then he will listen. - The attention span of the student is very short.


Teachers’ explanations

- The student usually follows their commands after giving his request (to watch videos online)

- The student usually finished his task, if the teacher threatens him that it will become added as his homework. 


Most teachers daily confront the reality that student attention wanders in class. They can be seen nodding off, sleeping, gazing distractedly at some point other than the front of the room, texting, or working on something for another class. It’s a problem, and one that teachers often find hard not to take personally. Dealing with the emotional reaction engendered by inattention is easier when it’s more fully understood, and here’s an example that illustrates why. It begins with some specific questions. Are there times during the period when student minds are more likely to wander? Are there teaching methods that can be linked to higher or lower levels of attentiveness? Study confirms well-established findings that students are more engaged and attentive when they are doing something other than listening to the teacher lecture. It appears that the change of pace, coupled with the chance for activity, refreshes students in a way that makes it easier for them to more closely attend when the lecture resumes. The teaching implications of this research are clear. Teachers should try to improve student attentiveness by using a variety of instructional approaches, especially those that actively engage students. These activities enable students to encounter the content in different formats and make it easier for them to pay attention after the activity has ended. 


The student subject to the case study likes watching videos. It has become his go-to activity that perhaps allows the teachers to control him. Videos have pedagogic roles in the facilitation of learning. It can be utilized to incite learning especially when supported by effective design principles.  There are two types of learning support that overlaps with the design principles.  Explicit learning support can make Ji Ho or any other student aware that they are being helped to learn. One example is by using text and images with presenters that explain concepts. Ji Ho may respond well to this kind of videos but it will eventually be dragging if done excessively.  Implicit learning support is also called cognitive scaffolding. It is used to create a mindset that facilitates learning. It can also be inferred that this device is an aid rather than a direct tool for learning. For example, a Disney movie -- say Coco -- may not directly teach grammar or vocabulary and description but it does secretly and subconsciously facilitate learning by the integration of class materials in the lesson without being too direct. 


The following are some of the suggestions that can be considered:  


1. Giving time to process and respond for every 10 minutes of instruction. Let the student think of the answer in every question but make sure they are not bored during the thinking time. Help them if they’re having a hard time.  

2. Pick up the pacing, today’s kids don’t respond as well to slower instruction and more traditional chalk and talk delivery. If you really want to have an active classroom environment keep your instruction dynamic and brisk.  

3. Provide frequent and effective feedback. Proper feedback is an essential part of learning and assessment. When this practice is done in an empowering and constructive way, it keeps the student motivated to process and finish the task.

4. At the end of a lesson have students use the 3-2-1 method of summarizing. Have the students write down three things they’ve learned, 2 interesting things and 1 question they have.


The following practices can help the teachers keep students’ attention and build a lifelong learning mindset. 

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