Last year I remember writing about the importance of eye contact with those you’re communicating with. I still believe this is incredibly important, but can you have unhelpful eye contact? Can eye contact actually work against you as a teacher and a communicator?
I think the answer to the above question is a resounding ‘yes’. This idea was sparked whilst I was listening to an education specialist who was speaking about creating positive behaviours in students. She was explaining that often when we are disciplining a student, we all but ‘demand’ that the student looks at us. I am sure you have said, “Look at me when I am speaking to you.” I know I have certainly said this many times! However, the education expert went on to say that the first human reaction to anxiety is to look away from the source of the anxiety. In other words, when we are correcting a student’s behavior, we need to be aware of the level of anxiety of that student and adjust our approach accordingly. Some students will require us to prompt them to make eye contact however other students will respond more effectively to our instruction with less direct eye contact.
This week’s assignment:
Next time you are correcting a student’s behavior, think about and observe their body language, and using your good judgment, make a decision about the level of eye contact you will require of them. Every student is different and as excellent teachers we should respond accordingly to these differences.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.