Classroom management isn't just for school children! Have you ever seen the following behaviours in one of your training sessions?
- Sending emails
- Interrupting to ask questions
- Whispering to a neighbor
- Playing a game on a phone
Hopefully you haven’t had anyone fall asleep, but chances are one of the others have happened at some point! Adults can get off task as easily as a group of children and it’s helpful to know some tricks to keep them engaged.
Set Expectations at the Beginning
At the beginning of your presentation, ask your students to turn off their cell phones and refrain from sending emails. This is also the time to explain how you want your presentation to go - if you will allow questions during your talk or if they should hold them until the end. Clarifying your student’s role as well as your own will eliminate confusion.
Holding your audience’s attention is largely your responsibility. Tell stories and anecdotes and share your personal experiences. Use interesting graphics or images in your slides or short videos, if appropriate. Consider including interactive elements such as a game or competition among your participants.
Often people think because they are far away from the presenter they are able to be off task and go unnoticed. While you are speaking, walk around the room. This not only keeps people’s attention better but it also gently reminds the person texting in the back that they should be focused on what you are saying. You can stop by students who are off task and stay there for awhile to drive the point home!
Call on People
Occasionally there’s that one person who persists in chatting with their neighbour or sending emails no matter what you do. It’s acceptable to bring them into the conversation (and let them know you see what they’re doing!) by calling on them to answer a question or participate in some way. Usually drawing attention to them will be all that’s needed to make them stop their distracting behaviour!
Remember, when students are distracting it not only affects their learning but the learning of others. Use these strategies instead of letting one person ruin a training session!
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