Attentiveness habit is one key that guaranteed both spiritual and academic excellence. It is a fact of life that what you do not hear you cannot take action on it. And what you do not pay attention to you cannot hear. It will be right then to say that you are attentive to only things that are important to you. Therefore, as a student going to the classroom implies, it is important to you. It goes to say then that what you devote your attention to will influence your choice of career.
What is attentiveness?
Attentiveness is a close or careful observation of something of interest. It could also mean listening by keeping one mind closely on something with the intention to achieve a particular purpose. In short, attentiveness means undivided concentration to the speaker. In that way, you honor, respect and acknowledge the worth of the speaker and his words. Usually, you give attention to something that is important to you. So you give attention to the pastor, Sunday school or class teacher if he and his words are important to you.
In other words, attentiveness connotes making sense out certain sound or activities out of other alternatives. For instance, Jesus commended Mary of the two women on a particular occasion for her attentiveness (Mary – John 11 and Luke 11: 27 – 28). Likewise, he condemned the Pharisees for their lack of attentiveness. Similarly, other words, for attentiveness include, but not limited to the followings devotion, responsive, thoughtful, concentration, alertness, etc. Also, the Bible likened attentiveness to listening, hearkening, giving ear, etc. However, attentiveness must be listening to hear and understand the speaker for the purpose of an action taking. According to the university of Alabama our brain works four times faster than our mouth hence the need to listen attentively
However, attentiveness is not spontaneous. It is a habit and a habit is what you repeatedly do unconsciously. Notwithstanding, it takes determination and discipline to birth a particular habit. Also, I can say the habit is what you routinely do over time, which eventually becomes your way of life. According to Mike Murdock “The Secret of Champions is in their daily routine. What you do regularly determines what you become permanently”.
How to develop attentiveness habit?
Habit is a product of discipline and discipline is a conscious and, concerted effort to do so something unusual or natural to us. Among action, you can take to form attentiveness habit are these:
1. Consciously and deliberately discipline yourself. Certain studies reveal that it will take 21 days non-stop action to form a habit. Otherwise, you’ll have to start all over again. So start the practice today. Hence, from the next Sunday school class or lecture session, determine you’ll be attentive and focused. If you continue for the next 21 days and you would have succeeded in forming attentiveness habit. By the way, it’s not going to be easy yet, for the sake of what you intend to achieve keep up with it.
2. Come as a learner. Simple as this may sound. The problem of some student today is their prejudice about the subject, course, topic or the teacher. You’ll not assimilate anything in the class once you are negatively biased. You can’t take away from the teacher what he had already known. In this case, you are the one who needed his knowledge. Attentiveness is the hallmark of a learner. In other words, you are willing to listen to instruction from the master. A learner concentrates so he can grab as much as possible from his tutor. You will learn and understand when you conditioned your mind to receive from the teacher.
3. Maintain eye contact. One sure way to keep up your attentiveness tempo is to maintain facial contact with the speaker. Besides listening to him effective communication also takes place as you focus your attention on the speaker. Thus, his gesticulation, description gives a vivid explanation of the point of discussion. In fact, when you maintain your gaze on your teacher whether in the church or school you have less distraction. Added to that is the fact that the dramatization of the teacher makes you recall quickly and easily salient point discussed in the sermon or lecture.
4. Maintain front row. Another key to attentiveness habit is to always sit in the front row. In effect don’t be among the” back benchers”. Usually, those who sit at the back backbite. Incidentally, there are more distractions in the back compared to the front. Sitting at the back breeds side talk, diversion and lack of concentration. In addition to that, when you sit close to the speaker, you’ll hear him clearly, you’ll be able to take notes. Besides that, the front row is the ideal place to sit if you are to write from the board. Added to that is the fact that you could easily ask questions. When you sit in front the consciousness that the speaker will notice all your action and movement will help you give him your undivided attention.
5. You must determine to be focused. The determination to eliminate both internal and external distraction is one element to cultivating attentiveness habit. Therefore, attentiveness is choosing your reaction to what happens within and around you. It implies you are the one that determined your level of attentiveness. Most times, what distracts you is within you. Unfortunately, no one can deal with that, except you. This means you’ll determine to listen and be attentive no matter what is happening around you. It is a choice. You must deal with some inner rumbles so you can concentrate and have a meaningful time with both God and men. These inner noises include personal challenges on health, family, finance, etc. Others are your cell phones and distracting friends. Attentiveness is more of the state heart than the environment.
6. Watch your food and drink. Yet it is a bad practice to bring food and drink to the classroom. This is because food and drink will distract both you and the fellow students. Such distraction could come in the form of the smell of the food. To some, the smell may be offensive while to others it makes them salivate and aggravate their hunger. Yet, to others the sound of the unwrapping the packaging may be distracting. Still. Some people may find the sound of cracking or chewing the food especially nuts offensive. Another effect of bringing food into the classroom is the dirt nuisance it could cause. All these put together to affect students’ attentiveness.
What you eat or drink influences your level of assimilation. Therefore do not go to classroom heavily loaded with food in the morning. This slows down your rate of attentiveness and retention. One adverse effect of heavy food is that it makes you weak, tired and sleepy. So, there is no way you’ll be attentive and alert in the class. As such avoid drinks and drugs that can impair your vision and hearing capacity. Though I am not talking about nutrition here, yet the advice that says you are what you eat holds sway.
7. Sit rightly. There is a close connection between attentiveness and your sitting posture. Ideally, you are to sit up when listening in the classroom. This gives honor to the speaker. Attention span and concentration slides when you slouched in your seat in the classroom. Ideally, you are expected to sit up with your back against your seat with your two legs on the floor. But if you lay your head on the table to rest your head on your hand, you will be tempted to doze off and your attentiveness level becomes zero. In the same vein, sometimes at intervals, you shift and adjust your posture on your sit. Shift from one side to the other. At the other time, you can stand up, straightening your legs. And when possible, you can briefly move around in the hall without causing a distraction.
8. Participate in the classroom. Part of class participation that can aid your attentiveness is nodding of your head when necessary. This is a sign of approval or disapproval. At times, you clap when there is a need for that. Activeness breeds attentiveness. So ask and answer questions in the classroom. In such a way anyone who will ask or answer a question(s) must be attentive in the class. The more active you are in the class, the more attentive you become and the better your performance. All these are done to ensure your alertness to the words of your teacher. This is because teaching is a two-way communication. And the best method that brings out the best from the student is a teaching oriented type of lesson delivery.
9. Focus on one thing at a time. One of the most annoying classroom misbehavior is the student doing something different from the subject matter being treated by the teacher. When an English teacher is in the class that is not the time to start your math homework. The Sunday school teacher is teaching on water baptism and the student flipping through pictures of baptism topic. This will definitely affect the attentiveness level of the students. In other words, you cannot be doing something different from what the teacher is teaching and claim to be listening. This amount to the division of attention and you’ll definitely loose from both ends. While the teacher stands in your front to teach then there is only one thing that is important among other options. This is the topic under consideration.
In the same way, there will be a disruption in your attentiveness level will if you are writing notes on the subject of discussion while the speaker is explaining the point. This is different from jotting down points. For instance, while the teacher is teaching a particular topic, but you were busy writing or completing the note you missed (i.e. The last class), though, it is the same subject, is doing the right thing at the wrong time which equals doing the wrong thing. There is a time for everything. In fact, the most important of class session is listening and attentiveness period. This is so because once you assimilate what the teacher taught you, then the information documented can aid your understanding.
10. Sleep and rest well. We cannot overemphasize the importance of rest in relation to attentiveness. Ensure you take enough rest before coming to class. That means you do not eat too late into the night. I know you could have reasons to study but you should do everything in moderation.
According to Division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School deprived sleep often affect our mood, motivation, judgment and our perception of things. It is mostly accepted sleep deficiency will affect student’s attentiveness, focus and prevent optimal performance. Since you’re unable to pay attention your level of retention decline and performance falls.
One of the essences of sleep is to restore your health to promote your alertness in the classroom. Usually, assimilation takes place when you are wide awake. It presupposes, then that the quality and quantity of your sleep will determine your rate of attentiveness. Researchers stated that any form of sleep deprivation hampers attentiveness. Such deprivation includes total deprivation (no sleep at all) partial (either waking earlier or sleeping late), selective (specific stages of sleep are deprived). In all, you lose attentiveness when you sleep in the class and the resultant effect is poor academic performance.
On a final note, attentiveness is a choice. It is a choice you make between making judicious use of your time and life in the class or allow other variables to take your attention. Indeed, your academic or spiritual assimilation to teaching depends on your level of attentiveness. Attentiveness habit if developed can be the difference between low performing student and high performing student. If imbibed it guarantee better assimilation, better spiritual and academic performance.
Author: Joseph Akinrinola
Joseph Akinrinola is a Pastor, Sunday school management coach, author, blogger, and a motivational speaker.
Joseph created this blog to help young Christians establish their
feet in Christ, and to provide Biblical time-tested answers to life’s
questions about relationship, christian living and personal development.