Share a New Link with Students: Attention = Control

A fifth grade student quiets himself during a mindfulness exercise to learn self-control skills.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Try this new link in your thinking and share it with students…

Concept behind the link:

the ability to pay attention is a must-have skill to gain control in any situation.

Gaining control isn’t always a goal, but control is key to achieving universally desired outcomes in school settings .

Two outcomes predicated on attention = control:

  • effective classroom management – mandatory for student achievement.
  • students learning self-control skills, gaining the ability to pay attention in class.

Some BIG problems can interfere with this link between attention and control, however, and that’s the focus of this post.

Background: I recently read a “rant” by a meteorologist who is well-respected in the US and known in other parts of the world, as well.

His “rant,” as you might imagine, was about social media posts related to the science of climate change. No debate here about that.

The words that caught MY attention were (paraphrased) “we live in an era where higher education and research are no longer respected.”

This meteorologist mused with a half measure of sarcasm that his parents had “wasted money on his education; that he could have waited for the age of social media and simply declared himself online as an expert in any field of his choice.”


Those stunning words prompted my thinking about a new link for educators to consider and share with students: Attention = Control.

Let’s explore what that means…

Think of control as the ability to direct one’s future, from childhood to adulthood.

At any age, attention = control, and control gives us the ability to direct our future. Self-control is a skill best learned early in life.

Of course, there are circumstances beyond anyone’s control that “bump along” life’s path.

But, teachers can play a major role imparting this important lesson…

…children who learn to pay attention to a full “picture”, the specifics in the “picture,” and the likely consequences of actions related to the “picture,” will have better control of their lives.

“Picture” can be any circumstance, situation, challenge, etc.

The link again: Attention = Control

Picture a student who has trouble staying focused on school work.

Now picture her or him in the future.

Will that child be able to achieve higher education?

Will that child know the value of research, whether the research be on a formal or informal basis?

What is the future likely to hold for that child?

The lesson in sharing the link between attention and control can’t wait for the future.

It needs to be taught early on so that children grow with an ability to sustain concentration.

We as teachers must find ways to make children see that higher education and research (both available in many forms) DO MATTER!

Focus skills require time to learn. Helping kids become “Minute Masters” develops focus skills.

Do we want a world where education and research are no longer respected just because anyone can log on and spout off about any topic any time?

Speaking of time, like teaching, the very nature of paying attention requires time.

Unfortunately, time seems to be in short supply in many school settings.

Thankfully teachers can use quick creative “tools and tricks” to catch and keep kids’ attention for more than a few minutes at a time.

Designing and discovering creative, attention-getting tools and strategies drive this blog.

The subject is timely.

Attention, as a subject, is hitting the news more than ever before…

  • attention as it relates to adjusting presentations for a world leader who is renowned for a short attention span…
  • attention deficits due to distractions that lead to deadly automobile accidents…
  • attention to our surroundings, urged by security agencies around the world, to help prevent more horror on streets and in venues that draw large crowds.

Children won’t know that they need to care about paying attention to learn and control their futures if we don’t teach them this important lesson.

Can we afford not to take the time to share this link: Attention = Control?

Let’s shout out the answer…No!

Please send comments with your views.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet





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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are acting sluggish in class.

Solution: Show "The BIG E," for ENERGY, an enlarged letter E (or other first letter for the word energy in your alphabet), available in craft stores. Remind the class that energy is a must-have item to get good work done. Tell the class to show you "The BIG E!"

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