Easily distracted/short attention span


  1. Check lists can be very helpful for the student. Create a daily routine of tasks with specific times for doing those tasks.
  2. Post written or graphic instructions in areas where the student can refer to them. It can be very beneficial to provide step by step directions verbally and in writing. This may be done in several ways such as drawings, signs, maps and color coding are just a few.
  3. Ask the student to repeat directions back to you to insure that they understand.
  4. Have the student demonstrate the task while you watch and encourage him/her to ask questions.
  5. To assure that you have the student’s attention while giving directions, make sure that person is maintaining good eye contact even for brief moments. This is true for when you are giving a demonstration as well.
  6. Most of our students do well with tasks that are done routinely. Try to provide opportunities for repetition and review of instructions.
  7. For projects that involve several steps, such as putting a packet of information together, provide the student with a finished sample that can be used as a model.
  8. Information should be provided as clear and simple as possible. Using too many words or phrases may overwhelm the student. Also be aware of the rate of speed in which you are speaking. Speaking too fast may do the same.
  9. Explain to the student what happens if the work they perform is not done accurately or if they don’t follow your instruction closely. Also include why it is important to complete the task and how this relates to the departments productivity.
  10. Constructive feedback is just as important as positive in the learning process. Avoid letting minor issue escalate into major ones. Be specific and clear about the issue at hand.
  11. Knowing what to do during down time can be difficult for our students, have a plan for times when the work is slow such as on-going projects and back up tasks.
  12. Establish a routine so that the student knows what he or she is supposed to do. Some supervisors provide a folder for work that “needs to be done”.
  13. Maintain ongoing communication with the Internship Coordinator via the routine visits, e-mail and telephone calls to insure that questions or problems can be addressed as soon as they arise.

Last Modified: 7/27/18