I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the idea of attentiveness lately because it’s becoming increasingly clear that we learn everything by imitation. But we can only imitate what we perceive and we can only perceive it when we attend to it.
So here’s the first thing about attention: it arises from questions. What you notice you notice because it answered your questions. Therefore, the quality of your attention/perception depends on the quality of your questions.
I believe that almost all of your objections are settled by the realization that you don’t have to be conscious of a question to ask it.
Application: if you want your students’ attention, ask them good questions.