Just an observation

Here is a little fun. Here are two videos you may or may not have seen. Try them out but be aware! With a little imagination they could be used with your students also.

You can find variations of these (including a famous road safety advertisement using the first) on YouTube by searching for “awareness experiment” or “awareness test”. I was first introduced to them by a friend who works in Management training and coaching which led me to wonder what their implication for language teaching might be. Here are my thoughts, you may or may not agree so feel free to comment.

Observing classes, other teachers teaching, is fascinating and while the teacher being observed may feel the centre of attention I personally am seeing so much more. When teaching it is a real trick, one which often only comes with experience, to be able to stand back, sit down even and look at what is happening in the class (in its broadest sense, the students present, their relationship, the environment they are working in, materials they work with, tasks they are achieving and the people themselves, what they have or may have added to this mix) without worrying about how you are teaching or what you are going to do next. Very often, as in the videos above, as teachers we are often so focused on our own goals that we sometimes miss the dancing gorilla in our midst, that glimpse of the obvious that might just explain why something worked or didn’t work, why a particular student is struggling or not. As jugglers of so many different and often conflicting needs in a class it is obviously not possible for a teacher to be always 100% aware of what is happening in the room but, what those videos reminded me of were the benefits of creating that reflective space at least occasionally. Just an observation, but one worth making?

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