Elementary students spend nearly a third of their time off task, with distractions more likely to happen when children are working on their own or receiving whole-group instruction at their desks.
That is just one preliminary finding inpublished in the proceedings of the 2013 annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. The lead author of the conference paper was Carnegie Mellon University doctoral student Karrie E. Godwin.
Students were more likely to stay on task during whole-group instruction while sitting on the carpet and during testing, small-group instruction, and dancing, the researchers found. Students were most likely to get off task during individual work time and whole-group instruction at their desks.
The researchers’ conclusions were based on approximately 84 hours of observations of 22 classrooms in kindergarten through 4th grade at five unnamed charter schools.
A version of this article appeared in the May 14, 2014 edition of Education Week as Student Engagement