If students are asked: “What does it mean when someone asks you to pay attention?” they might say, “It means to concentrate,” or “It means to look at the teacher.” When asked how they might concentrate harder on the teacher, a typical response might be: “Just pay attention more.” But attention is much more than just “paying attention.”

Attention is a system of controls that can help students with such things as working consistently each day, focusing on the right details when reading, and thinking ahead about what to say. Every day, students are expected to use their attention skills to succeed with school work, control behavior, and relate well to others. Different students will show different strengths and weaknesses in this area. For example, some students might find it easy to concentrate on information that isn’t very exciting, but have a hard time staying awake while sitting still.

Helping students understand the different controls of attention and ways to strengthen all aspects of attention can increase their success throughout life. To learn more about developing the controls of attention, click on the topics below: