You Got My Attention

Purpose: To help participants understand how attention works in a classroom environment.
Participants: 3 - 20
Time Required: 15 - 20 minutes
Materials Needed: Flipchart, markers.

Steps to Follow:
a) Ask for two volunteers. Tell them that they will take part in an experiment involving attention. They will have to talk about a topic of their choosing for 3 minutes to the rest of the group. The only problem is that both volunteers will do this at the same time, while standing in opposing corners of the training room.
b) Tell the rest of the participants that they will have to choose who they will pay attention to.
c) Give the volunteers 3 minutes to prepare and to choose the topic they wish to talk about. When they are ready, tell them to start. They both have to start and finish at the same time.
d) Once the three minutes are up, ask each participant to state who they decided to pay attention to. Ask them to also state the reasons why they paid attention to that speaker. Write down each reason on the flipchart.

Questions for Debriefing:
• What does this exercise tell us about gaining attention in a classroom setting?
• What are the most frequent elements that got this group’s attention?
• What could the people talking to the group have done differently, so that your attention could be even more focused on what they had to say?