Brainwaves, Issue 30, Less = More, Helping Kids Focus and Think

In the last issue, I wrote about different kinds of seating or working options to help people at desks, in the classroom or offices. In this issue, I will discuss how important it is to reduce background distractions to help focus attention and help children learn. This is known as the Weber-Fechner law!

Brainwaves is a monthly newsletter designed to create some “brainwaves” within my community of colleagues, friends and clients.

Whether I am meeting with parents to discuss how to foster relationship think in their child or assessing how to best support a person’s learning, I am constantly suggesting that caregivers/teachers simplify, slow down, spotlight or create a contrast effect to help kids focus on what they are learning. Apparently, this law is found in psychology and psychophysics and is known as the Weber-Fechner law. 

What is the Weber-Fechner law?  

The Weber-Fechner law states that the amount of change needed for sensory detection to occur increases with the initial intensity of the stimulus.

What does it mean?

It means that attention to new things happens when the intensity of that new thing is strong! So…

  1. Simplify your visual space! If you want students to focus and learn something that is being presented visually, then you need to increase the intensity of that presentation, and eliminate competing visuals.tidy classroom 2
  • organize your space and de-clutter; use solid colored bins instead of clear bins
  • cover open cupboards with doors or fire resistant material
  • make sure that you have an empty wall to stand in front of when teaching
  • ensure that tabletops are free and clear of anything that is not necessary
  • reduce visual extra’s on worksheetsrule of thumb
  1. Simplify your language!
  • The KISS rule – keep it simple and short!
  • Don’t have too many steps or things to remember unless that is your goal

2. Slow Down and Space your words!

  • Become more comfortable with longer pauses within your communicationto hear one must be silent
  • Add non-verbal gestures
  • Help children to become comfortable with silence

3. Create a Contrast Effect

  • Gain attention by making a word or words LOUDER, or softer, say it quickly or  d…r…a…w…n   o…u…t
  • Use your actions to draw attention to yourself, be a bit silly

More Reading:

Simplifying Childhood May Protect Against Mental Health Issues

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tracy-gillett/children-mental-health_b_9400848.html

Why Silence is Good for the Brain

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/silence-brain-benefits_us_56d83967e4b0000de4037004