Wednesday, 2 April 2014

C is for Concentration

Teachers often say that a child lacks the ability to concentrate to class; their attention wanders, they don’t listen and they appear easily distracted by other things going on.  Concentration increases with age (normally multiply the child’s age by three to get an approximate length) so the average 5 year old should be able to concentrate on a task for 15 minutes and the average 10 year old should be able to maintain concentration for half an hour.

Some of the problems associated with concentration revolve around lack of sleep or poor diet and exercise.  Some are because the child cannot suitably engage with the level of work presented to them (too hard or too easy).  Some relate to special needs (such as ADHD) and some are due to them not building up this ability in their early years or trying to deal with emotional problems outside of the school sphere.

Food for thought might be these statistics published this January 2014 by the
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S.A.:
The average attention span in 2013
8 seconds
The average attention span in 2000
12 seconds
The average attention span of a goldfish
9 seconds

which appear to show that our attention spans are decreasing to below that of a goldfish!

The hypothesis is that as new technologies increase the over stimulation leads to our cutting down on our concentration levels so as not to overload ourselves.

So what is the solution?  As SENCO, I try to find out into which category the child’s lack of concentration might fall into and give support where needed e.g. sorting out steps to overcoming emotional problems, talking with parents over need for more sleep/bedtime routines, cutting down on particular foods/exercise routines, finding out about the child’s experiences in class and ways to overcome this (I am always impressed by how much insight the children have into ways to help themselves if given the chance!)

I am also about to embark on providing some concentration classes (after Easter)as part of our afternoon withdrawal groups (particularly for those younger children who would reap the benefits as they continue through our school system).   I am providing the link to a document I will be using in these classes which although is based on work with ADHD children I think will benefit all those with low concentration levels.

Please let me know any successful methods you have employed to increase children’s levels of concentration in class as I am always willing to try new things.

My TpT products for C are Capacity - check it out at:
and Cannonball Subtraction


  1. Have you read "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain? She writes about attention span. The "grit" movement in education has some grounding in Cain's book, I think.

    Attention span has to be developed--by parents, when a child is young. Too often kids aren't made to sit still and pay attention, whether in church, at the dinner table, when visiting grandma, to read a book. These are to blame as much as anything, I think, for the loss of attention span. #BloggingAtoZ

  2. I quite agree, Glenda. The earliest years are the most important in a child's life and parents' interactions with their child help develop all types of skills rather than relying on school to play catch up all the time. I haven't read the book you mention but it sounds like maybe I should. Have a great Friday.