I am a 10th grader at Riverside High School. I am a student, golfer, and member of the #bowtieboys. I strive to be an advocate for every student, and I believe every student should have a chance to learn in their own way. Every student deserves a fair and equal education that is flexible for what they need. When this happens, students will be more engaged, and lessons will have more energy. This will lead to a better chance for students to retain the content taught, and hopefully learn some skills along the way.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Keeping Students Focused

            Throughout the history of education, educators and administrators have tried to find ways to help students that have learning disabilities and other mental conditions.  There have been several inventions and techniques that can help this issue, but there are very few that don’t impair the learning for the rest of the class.  This is also a very relevant issue now, with the immergence of the “fidget spinner” and “fidget cubes”.  Both of these new products are very successful, but they have caused loads of controversy in the classroom, so I just thought I’d put my two cents into the issue.

            This is a very relevant problem to me personally, as I am a student that has been diagnosed with both inattentive ADHD and GAD (Generalized anxiety disorder).  There have been very few products to help anxiety, and the ones that do work, seem to annoy the students around me quite a lot, which is the main issue with the ever so popular fidget spinner.  If you aren’t familiar with the fidget spinner, it is basically a gyroscope that is made of a simple polymer and some ball bearings. You flick the spinner and it is meant to spin, which is supposed to calm people with ADHD.  The thing that has caused so much controversy with these however, is that they make noise, and they might not even provide the ability to focus on the lesson in class.  I myself had a fidget spinner, and it was absolutely great for keeping me less distracted, but it had me focusing on the spinner itself more than the lesson.  I think that these gadgets are probably better off looked as a small toy to pass time with.  Another issue with these products is that some can make noise which is a distraction for other students.  So overall this was a good idea to calm those students who suffer from various mental conditions and learning disabilities, but it isn’t very effective for students in class due to the distraction it creates. 

            Another product that has been released recently is the fidget cube.  This is just a simple cube with a good amount of options. Since a cube has six sides, this gadget utilizes all six sides to provide a different thing to fidget with.  For example, one side has a ball to spin around, and one of the other sides has a light switch like mechanism.  This product is a much better idea to help kids in the classroom, but in my personal experience, it doesn’t work.  I just didn’t find the fidget cube good enough to keep me focused in class like the spinner did. 

            So, with both of these products failing, there seems to be no “one size fits all” answer to this issue.  The only real way to help your students stay focused and interested in class, is to talk to your students individually.  This way every student will know that their teacher is open to new ideas to keep them focused.  One thing that helps me focus, is if I’m feeling out of it, I just go stand in the back of the room.  That seems to help me stay alert and attentive, and doesn’t cause an issue for any of the other students in the class.  In the end, it is the student’s responsibility to stay focused in class, but they should have every ability to do so.  Another thing that keeps me focused in class is music.  When I can’t keep my head straight on just one activity, I just put one of my earbuds in, and I find that I can do my work much more efficiently this way.  I encourage all teachers to be open to any means to maintain focus for every student.  I also encourage all students to talk to their teachers about what they do to stay focused in class.  Once this communication break is fixed, students will be much more attentive in class.