23 Ways to Teach Learners to Make Efficient Use of Their Free Time

Are you looking for ways to teach students to make efficient use of their time? If so, keep reading.

1. Let the student go to other classrooms for specific learning activities during free time (e.g., typing, home economics, industrial arts, etc.).

2. Make sure that free time is contingent upon academic productivity and accuracy (e.g., the student must finish three learning activities with 80 percent accuracy before participating in free time).

3. Make sure that the free-time learning experience does not overstimulate and cause the student to demonstrate unacceptable behavior.

4. Make sure the student does not become involved in overstimulating learning activities.

5. Make sure the student can successfully take part in the free-time learning experience (e.g., the student knows the rules, the student is familiar with the learning experience, the student will be compatible with other students engaged in the learning experience, etc.).

6. Make sure the student knows that failing to make appropriate use of free time may result in the termination of free time and/or loss of chance to earn free time.

7. Separate the student from the peer(s) who stimulates the student’s unacceptable use of free time.

8. Praise the student for making appropriate use of free time: (a) give the student a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the student an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

9. Make sure the student knows that failure to conclude learning activities and return to tasks may result in the loss of chance to earn free time.

10. Join in free-time learning activities with the student to model appropriate use of free time.

11. Put free-time learning materials (e.g., paper, pencil, glue, crayons, games, etc.) in a place where the student can access them on their own.

12. Give high interest free-time learning activities for the conclusion of tasks (e.g., listening to music, reading, socializing, going to another part of the school building, etc.).

13. Give sign-up sheets for free-time learning activities.

14. Give supervision of free-time learning activities to monitor the student’s appropriate use of free time.

15. Give the student a list of quiet learning activities to take part in when they finish tasks early.

16. Give the student frequent short-term, free-time learning activities so they can learn to finish free-time projects at another time and be willing to go back to tasks.

17. Give things of interest to the student during free time (e.g., headphones, coloring books, reading content, etc.).

18. Praise the student for making appropriate use of free time based on the duration of time the student can be successful. As the student shows success, slowly increase the duration of time required for reinforcement.

19. Ensure that the student knows the length of free time available when beginning a learning experience.

20. Praise those students in the classroom who make appropriate use of free time.

21. Converse with the student to explain (a) what the student is doing wrong (e.g., talking loudly, getting out of seat, etc.) and (b) what they must be doing (e.g., talking quietly, sitting quietly, etc.).

22. Draft an agreement with the student stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., talking quietly, sitting quietly, studying, etc.) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

23. Consider using a classroom management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

24. Consider using an adaptive behavior management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

25. Consider using Alexa to help the student learn to behave appropriately. Click here to read an article that we wrote on the subject.

26. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

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