Attention is an important aspect of our mental activity and plays a useful role in our day-to-day life. In the teaching-learning process, attention is the major source of learning. While the teacher is at work, a number of students remain attentive for some reason or the other. Those sitting at the back benches do not pay much attention to the “class work and this sometimes causes annoyance to him. Often he repeats, You, Biju, what are you doing? Why do children go inattentive? The teacher wants to know all this and also the means to secure it in the classroom.
DEFINITIONS OF GOOD ATTENTION
The phenomenon of attention has been defined variously.
(i) Attention is the selective act of consciousness. It is the selective activity of the mind.” – Rex and Knight
(ii) Attention is the concentration of the mind. This concentration” is again selective and implies sensible clearness’ as Teacher also describes attention.” – Wood-Worth and Schlosberg.
(iii) From another point of view attention is “bringing into focus an idea or an object from the margin.” This also implies selectivity.
From the above definitions, it is clear that ‘focussing.”concentration’, ‘selection, and ‘clearness’ are important elements of attention. The mental stream of our consciousness does not attend to everything that happens before us. Something which carries our attention now may lose it the next moment. Our mind immediately selects, brings the selected phenomena into focus, and there lies our attention.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD ATTENTION
Thus, the chief characteristics of attention are:
(i) Attention is selective.
(ii) Attention is constantly shifting from one object to another.
(ii) Attention implies knowing, feeling, and doing.
(iv) Attention is motivated by some purpose in the object or activity which we attend to
(v) Attention has a narrow range. We attend to one thing at a time.
(vi) Attention is generally aroused by new stimuli.
(vii)Attention is accompanied by. motor adjustments.
Kinds of good Attention
In the previous question, we discussed natural and acquired interests. On the basis of the two kinds, of interest, we have non-voluntary and voluntary attention. Non-voluntary attention has two sub-kinds: Spontaneous and forced; Voluntary attention is also of two types, namely, effortful and effortless.
1. Non-voluntary Good Attention
(i) Non-voluntary Spontaneous Attention:
It is based on our natural interests and instincts are its basis. When a child forgets hunger and thirst and gets engaged in play instinct is working behind his attention. The mother’s attention spontaneously goes toward her child the moment she hears him weeping.
(ii) Non-voluntary Forced Good Attention:
It is the result of some forced stimulus. If some unpleasant sound is heard while you are engaged
in your work, your attention automatically goes toward it. Again, the fear of something attracts attention in spite of one’s best efforts to avoid that.
2. Voluntary Good Attention
It is based on our acquired interests
(i) Voluntary Effortful Attention:
Most of the important things are accomplished by this kind of attention. We may not be interested in solving a difficult problem, but still we want to do it. We may gossip or play, but still, we want to solve a problem in Mathematics on which we know hard labor is required, A student should be encouraged to develop the power of voluntary effortful attention.
(ii) Voluntary Effortless Good Attention:
This type of attention is the direct result of effortful attention. A certain task may be difficult in the beginning, but it becomes easy after repeated trials. Voluntary effortless attention is possible due to a change in ‘nature, habit, and sentiment.
How to Secure Attention?
The psychology of attention has its straight origin in the psychology of interest. What keenly interests us we attend to it. Attention like interest has important educational implications. Many times the teacher is faced with the problem of finding his pupils inattentive. Such moments are irritating. To avoid such embarrassment, the teacher must know a few ways and means who would help him to secure his pupils’ whole-
Hearted Good attention.
- Where there is interest, there is attention. Make things interesting and the child’s attention will be invited easily.
- Work on the principle of acquired interest by introducing rewards and punishments. This will lead to voluntary attention.
- Make children do as many things as possible. That will focus their attention on the particular activity.