Exercises and tips for teachers

Teachers are the subjects in the classroom who, with their professionality, experience, and continuity, effectively contribute to the development of a pupil's active attention.

Problems of active and focused attention

The atmosphere at primary school is always very varied and changing, seemingly relaxed, but in its essence often tense and stressful. Such an atmosphere is easy to be found and anticipated before tests, public performances, or reading in public. But we are rarely attentive to the reasons for a certain atmosphere on »normal days«when the learning process goes smoothly. Within the department, the atmosphere is created by individuals who experience the world and what is going on around them in different ways. Boisterous juveniles, »problematic« in their behavior, or on the other hand passive children make us aware through various kinds of behavior that school years are not only a period of playfulness and curiosity but also a period of failure and stressful situations.

Professional workers often ask themselves why somebody was not able to do something, why they did not understand, how come they have failed. There are plenty of answers to such questions, depending on the observer's viewpoint. One of them is definitely a lack of active and targeted attention when a person fully focuses on one thing only. At school we often say that a pupil has »avertable« attention, which can be shown in different ways: their thoughts wander off, they gaze through the window or disrupt lessons with inappropriate comments, they continuously ask for additional explanations, they do not want to do a certain task, they make a lot of mistakes and they are sloppy …

Despite the fact that we were given a certain level of active attention at birth, it has to be fostered and trained every day as this is the only way to maintain, improve and develop it.

With regular and systematic conduct of short exercises for active attention, the following goals can be accomplished step by step:

  • Improvement of auditory attention.
  • Improvement of visual attention.
  • Lengthening of endurance in an activity.
  • Fewer mistakes.
  • Improvement of the speed of information processing.
  • Discovering new ways to reach a goal.
  • Enhancement of one's self-image.

At school, most information is received through the auditory and visual sensory channels. This is why active visual and auditory attention is a pupil's key competency and fundamental for further information processing.

Exercises and tips for the teacher


  • The fostering of active attention should be regular and systematic.
  • Exercises with the pupils should be carried out every day, for cca. 15 minutes.
  • Do the exercises continuously and alternate between all important fields of learning (motoric functions, reading and speech, language, writing, perceptions).
  • At least one exercise for auditory or visual attention should be carried out on a daily basis
  • Repeat those exercises that the pupils have not fully grasped yet, and thus teach them endurance for finishing a certain task or activity.
  • Feel free to upgrade the exercises and adapt them according to the children's level of development.
  • The exercises are meant to be merely a framework and a source of ideas that you can build on according to your own imagination.
  • Set clear and understandable instructions. Be systematic (First do this, then …).
  • Encourage the pupils' divergent thinking, encourage them to be daring and creative in their thinking.
  • Answer the pupils' questions, even if you think they make no sense.
  • Respect should be mutual.
  • Notice the pupils' effort and congratulate them on it.
  • Set such rules that you can follow.
  • Avoid criticizing the personality and instead, encourage discussion on inappropriate behavior and looking for alternative ways for reaching the set goal.
  • Be aware of the importance of cooperation with pupils, they are our greatest teachers.


The exercises can be used:

  • for initial motivation,
  • for a break between studying,
  • as a relaxing activity,
  • as a motivational lift,
  • for calming down before tests,
  • as the closing part of a lesson,
  • as a means of making the lesson more interesting,
  • for cooperative studying among pupils,
  • for working in groups, pairs or individually…

These exercises are not meant to be trouble or extra work but should be seen as a time for pleasure and relaxation – not only for pupils but also for the teacher!