Focus is about concentrating our attention or energy on something. Sometimes children can demonstrate a high level of focus, especially if they are watching their favourite TV programme, reading a good book, or playing a imaginary game, and no matter what distractions are going on around them, they stay focussed.
However, at other times children can find it difficult to stay focussed and there will be many shifts in their attention. This could be in the classroom, on the sports field, or at home. As adults, we can help children to focus their attention by asking them questions that begin broadly and then focus for detail. Here is an example of the kind of questioning I have used with helping a young child learn to catch a ball;
(me) ‘What do you notice about the ball, as it comes towards you?’
(child) ‘I notice the spin, and the colour of the ball?’
(me) ‘What do you notice the most the spin or colour?’
(child) ‘ The colour’.
(me) ‘What is it about the colour you notice?’
(child) ‘It is darker underneath.’
(me) ‘Where exactly is it darker underneath?’ …. and so on.
Following a child’s focus and asking follow-on questions such as these, can have the following effect; 1. They begin to focus more deeply, and thus any possible internal or external distractions aren’t noticed. 2. Their learning and performance increases – this child began to catch the ball with relative ease! 3 They enjoy the experience! 😀