At times it can be dispiriting when a classroom technique that works for others doesn’t seem to work for you. In these times it is important to notice if what you are communicating during the technique is what you want to be communicating. Remember that physical presence habits combine to form communication which is interpreted by others.
Consider the classroom technique Radar. Radar is in part designed to communicate something very specific to the classroom: “I am present and aware of everything in this room”.
Now imagine that a teacher is attempting to use the technique Radar. She is working with a class she finds challenging at the best of times. She has been advised by her PDL or her LDO to employ Radarin these instances, and so on several occasions she carefully stops, stands and swivels, scanning the room for any off task behaviour. To her dismay she finds that low level disruption increasesover the duration of the class rather than decreases.
This teacher could easily become frustrated if she feels the technique is insufficient for the situation. This might then become a cycle where any attempt to implement the technique results in the classroom behaviour getting worse. Eventually she stops using the technique altogether.
Alternatively this teacher might step back and decide to identify if what she is communicating during the technique is what she wants to be communicating. She decides to film her next class and deliberately uses the Radarat several intervals. At the end of the day she watches the video back and identifies that during the technique her body language and tone are actually communicating something closer to: “I am anxious I’m going to see some behaviour I won’t be able to handle”. This looks very different to what she thought she was communicating: “I am present and aware of everything in the room”. She begins to understand why the students might be responding in the way that they are.
Next she breaks down her physical and tonal habits that are unhelpfully throwing off her intended communication. She identifies:
· Closed body language – arms crossed and hand over neck
· Unbalanced posture – weight on one foot which makes her look wobbly
· Hesitant tone of voice with lots of rising inflections
· Flicking eye contact that looks like it’s avoiding seeing anything
She decides to work on each of these habits one at a time over the next few weeks, by setting small targets in her journal, practicing every day in class and assessing her progress by filming herself weekly. She also works on releasing tension in the body by stretching every evening and strengthens her voice by warming up every day. Most of all she considers her intention every time she employs Radarand thinks to herself: “I am present and aware of everything in the room”.
Soon she might discover that not only is the technique proving much more effective but that she is developing better relationships with her students, is more relaxed in class and most of all is enjoying her teaching more.
by Sarah Bedi, co-Artistic Director of BAZ Productions
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