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Minimize Classroom Distractions


All Ages Strategy


Self-regulation Organization Working Memory Attention Processing Speed

Minimize Classroom Distractions

If your student struggles to sustain focus or is easily distracted

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Decrease extraneous auditory and visual stimuli in the classroom to help students focus more easily.
  2. Seat Arrangements: Seat an easily distracted student near the front, away from the window and door, and away from chatty peers or friends. During group work, consider having this student(s) sit with a smaller group.
  3. Organized Work Space: Have students work with a clear desktop so they are not distracted by other items or activities. Consider a portable study carrel which can help students maintain attention during tests or in-class writing. Have a bunch on hand, or one for every student, not just those with attention weaknesses.
  4. Class Environment: Be selective about what pictures, diagrams and charts go up on the wall. Studies show that all students do better when the room walls are not overloaded with visual stimuli.
  5. Student-led Strategies: Encourage students to close their eyes when they need to think about something deeply so they physically eliminate environmental distractions. Consider allowing students to listen to quiet music on headphones while completing independent work. This can help students block out external talking and noise.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

The mind can't help but process some amount of environmental information (Flanker Effect). For students who have difficulty with focus, that information can be enough to interfere with their ability to complete the task they are working on. We know that students can be affected by distractors, even without realizing it, so it is important for adults to help them remove distractions even if students might not think they are being affected. (Motor Priming Effect)

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Auditory Processing, Inhibition & Self-Regulation, Sensory Integration (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)