Narrator: Now listen to part of the talk in an Education class.
Professor: One of the hardest parts of teaching is keeping your students' attention.
Now the key to doing this is understanding the concept of attention.
Basically, there are two types of attention.
The first type is active.
Active attention is voluntary.
It's when you intentionally make yourself focus on something,
and since it requires effort,
it's hard to keep up for a long time.
OK, so let's say you're teaching a biology class and today's topic is frogs. All right?
You're standing at the front of the room and lecturing,
"a frog is a type of animal known as an amphibian".
this isn't necessarily going to keep the students' interest,
but most of them will force themselves to pay active attention to your lecture.
But it's only a matter of time before they get distracted.
Now the other type of attention is passive attention when it's involuntary.
Passive attention requires no effort because it happens naturally.
If something's really interesting,
students don't have to force themselves to pay attention to it.
They do it without even thinking about it.
So back to our biology lecture,
you start talking about frogs and then you pull a live frog out of your briefcase.
You're describing it while you hold it up,
show the students how long its legs are and how they're used for jumping, for example.
Then maybe you even let the frog jump around a bit on the desk or the floor.
In this case,
by doing something unexpected,
something more engaging,
you can tap into their passive attention and it can last much longer than active attention.
As long as the frog is still there,
your students will be interested.