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Air, water, breaks and good lessons

Nutrition, Breaks, Mineral Water. education,
Air, water, breaks and good lessons

How concentration and motivation can be increased

Concentration and motivation are crucial factors for successful learning. However, it was already known before Corona that things were not going well for many schoolchildren. Studies suggest it hasn’t gotten any better. The lack of social contacts, physical and psychological problems and fears of the disease – all of this did not exactly help to improve the concentration and motivation of the students. Skills that are in demand right now, after all, it is about catching up on learning deficits and finding joy in learning again.

Are all the children motivated and focused in class? A dream that will never come true. Teachers know that they have to say goodbye to the idea of ​​being able to reach all children equally well at all times – no matter how good the lessons are. Nevertheless, they want to get as close as possible to this goal.

The external conditions

Motivation and focus are closely related. Anyone who is motivated to find out more about a topic, to learn something new, will also be able to concentrate well. And those who learn and work with concentration will be successful and increase their own motivation. But motivation and concentration cannot be conjured up with a snap of the fingers, as they depend on many factors. First of all, there are the external conditions, which can often be easily influenced.

Good air

Pupils and their teachers spend a lot of time at school – mostly together in classrooms. And not only since Corona have we known how important fresh air is. However, the air quality in many classrooms leaves a lot to be desired. If these rooms are not adequately ventilated, the air quality deteriorates rapidly. And bad indoor air impairs the ability to concentrate and makes people tired. To ensure better air quality, ventilation breaks of at least three minutes should be taken in every lesson – or at the beginning and end of the lesson – by opening all windows at once or completely opening windows and doors on the opposite side. In addition, the air quality in the classroom can also be measured. There are many unhealthy substances in the air, but measuring them all would be difficult and expensive. However, the CO₂ level is a reliable indicator of air quality. And that can be easily determined with the commercially available CO2 measuring devices. They are affordable and can be purchased through a parent donation or with the support of the association. In addition, the students can independently determine the CO2 content at any time and act accordingly.

If the weather permits, the lessons can also be moved outside from time to time, which not only brings fresh air, but also additional motivation from the new environment?


Clearly, teachers do not have a far-reaching influence on the nutrition of their students. The parents and the private environment are decisive here. Nevertheless, they can use the leeway that is available to them and deal with the topic of nutrition in class from time to time. What do the body and brain need in order to be and stay fit? How does diet affect concentration? What does “balanced nutrition” mean? What are the effects of soft drinks, fast food and sweets?


For a long time, drinking was forbidden in schools. Last but not least, the “Drinking in the classroom” initiative has triggered a rethink. Since 2004, she has been campaigning for students to be allowed to drink during class – preferably water. A study by a University and the Mineral Water Information Center also showed in 2013 that students who are well supplied with liquid during class do better in performance tests. And they also have good concentration and memory.

It doesn’t matter whether the association buys water dispensers, whether it is agreed at parents’ evenings that all children bring a drinking bottle with water from home, or whether the tap water at school is of good drinking quality – it is so easy to turn this screw !


A lesson lasts 45 minutes, period. It’s just that this division of time doesn’t fit children’s attention spans at all. For this reason, breaks should also be taken during a lesson. They don’t even have to consist of pure doing nothing. In elementary school, they can be filled with movement games or a short rest. For example, by having all the students close their eyes and not speak or move for a minute. As children grow older, so does their attention span. Nevertheless, even in the higher classes one should take breaks to move or for a short meditation. The “loss of time” caused by these breaks has long since been made up for by better concentration and motivation on the part of the students.

The lesson

Train concentration

Concentration is achieved through competitions, among other things. Most students love games in which they solve problems in competition with others. And if something has to be done under time pressure or in competition, then you have to concentrate intensively.

For primary school children there are movement exercises that promote concentration. An example: A movement stands for a vowel. For the letter A, the arms are stretched wide apart at an angle, or for the I they are lifted straight up. For example, one child says the word “tree” and another child translates the vowels into movement. A side effect: the children improve their spelling because they have to imagine the word written.

In addition, “city-country-river” games are usually very well received in all classes. Depending on the children’s ability to read and write, they can find terms from A to Z for the different categories. In the higher grades it can be vocabulary, foreign words or technical terms, for example from the natural sciences or mathematics. These two copy templates for primary and secondary school offer many more training examples on the subject of concentration.

A good mixture

Frontal teaching, group work, station learning, and open teaching – the discussion about the best forms of teaching continues. But does one have to be the best? Isn’t it much better to offer a mix of methods that then does justice to all students? Those who listen with concentration during frontal teaching, those who really thrive in group work or those who can follow their own learning path while learning at stations? The same applies to the media mix of books, worksheets, blackboards or other traditional and digital media.

Know where the kids are

Pupils who lack previous knowledge or who are not interested in a certain topic will hardly are able to follow the lesson with motivation and concentration. However, if teachers know where their individual students are, they can respond specifically and provide appropriate assistance. So-called diagnostic tools have proven to be extremely useful for this purpose.