How to foster essential life skills
What is your level of alertness as well as focus when you cross a road buzzing with chaotic traffic? Quite obviously, you pay your undivided attention and full focus. You feel as if you are crossing a creek–all stepping stones being of different shapes. It is a small example of how daily activities can help in fostering concentration.
These days, social networking—such as tweeting, whatsapp-ing, and facebooking—has broken the stream of thoughts. Now while communicating, we tend to focus less on a particular topic or subject and the reason is the high speed of communication.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Harvard-based psychologist, has used a term ‘autotelic’ to define those people who find the highest level of happiness when they get completely engrossed in various complex activities. By giving their undivided attention to tasks and results that enhance their skills, these people tend to evolve into contented adults. Csikszentmihalyi has coined a term ‘attentional capacity,’ which he believes a crucial ingredient for autotelic development. In view of Csikszentmihalyi ‘s study on self-motivated learning, the classroom should be considered a place that facilitates the development of ‘attentional capacity’ of growing students.
To foster students’ various life skills, teachers can consider the following strategies.
Sequence your instruction
Try to sequence all your instructions in order to foster students’ sense of discovery. We can cite an example here. While teaching the concept of light, a physics teacher can conduct a few classes at labs wherein all students will conduct some experiments related to the same concept. Once all these experiments are done, students will get a better understanding of light. Such real-life experiments are found to be very effective in enhancing students’ concentration and focus level.
Learn from mistakes
Learning from mistakes also builds up students’ capacity for continued learning. For example, an English teacher can candidly ask his/her students about the mistakes they have made in their last English exam. In doing so, the teacher will ultimately encourage students to find a solution to a problem, instead of living with a problem. This way, students will learn focusing more on finding solutions, which will ultimately foster their independent thinking skills.
Goal setting exercises are another effective way in promoting students’ attentional capacity and independent thinking skills. The teacher should encourage each student to set up his/her short- and long-term study goals and review them on a regular basis. When students start focusing on their goals, it will have a positive impact on their concentration level.
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