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Want pupils to pay more attention? Change it up

Getting and holding pupils’ attention is only half the battle – they also need to file it away in their memory. To achieve this, originality and unpredictability in the classroom is key, finds Zofia Niemtus


Picture yourself at a friend’s party, in a crowded room. You’re having a conversation with someone and are fully focused on what they are saying. Your brain is tuning out all of the surrounding noise, enabling you to zero in on the words being spoken by that person.

Suddenly, you hear your name mentioned in a conversation nearby. Your ears prick up. Despite myriad sounds around you, your brain has detected a seemingly relevant piece of information (your name) from the auditory jumble and immediately shifted your attention.

Both of these processes – the initial tuning out of other sounds and ...

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