Keeping students on task and on track

Teachers work hard to keep students on task.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
September 30, 2021

Teachers work hard to keep students on task. Sometimes, very hard. Engaging activities, fun lessons launches, energisers, brain breaks,  — there’s plenty of tools in the kit that teachers can use. But which tool works best?

Dr. Kat Schenke explored this very question in her latest whitepaper ‘Keeping students on task and on track’. The analysis sheds light on which part of a lesson could be the most impactful for supporting students to work productively. 

She even found a couple of surprises when looking at whether students act differently on Friday afternoon and when looking at the importance of the start of the lesson.

Some of the findings include:

  • Most off-task behaviors occur at the beginning of class but the amount of cumulative time spent off task is roughly the same across the entire lesson. 
  • Afternoons seem to be the worst in terms of off-task behavior.
  • Most of the variation in off-task behavior occurs from lesson to lesson, not school-to-school or teacher-to-teacher.

Meet the expert
Dr. Kat Schenke is a learning designer and data scientist who’s passionate about helping people learn. 

Dr. Schenke has authored over 20 academic journal articles and has presented at conferences across the United States and Europe on a range of topics, including motivation, game-based learning and gender differences in STEM.

In her work, she designs research and collects, analyzes, and translates data into easy-to-understand language so that people who care about learning —  like parents, educators, policymakers —  can understand what’s happening within an educational context — like, what’s the relationship between school culture, social emotional learning, and academic outcomes?

Download the research paper below!

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