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Midterm Teaching Practice Development Goal

for Teacher Education classes

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Always useful to set a developmental goal…
Stance (Intent vs Understanding)

At the midterm point: I want to improve my body language in class. Specifically, I’ve learned that my “open” body position, in which I directly face students can be intimidating/threatening to some students, and might inhibit them from participating fully. One of my students observed this (in connection with proximity) early in the semester, and it was mentioned again by other students after they watched a video of me. So, I want to experiment with less ‘direct’ postures and get feedback from students near the end (probably anonymous via surveymonkey.com). This process, it says here, should result in professional development gains.

Voice & Posture

As an actor (see my ‘about’ page), I trained for years associating voice production with body movement and position, and understand that my default ‘voice’ for my ‘open’ stance is pretty confident and audible. A secondary aim is to increase my awareness of voice so that I can make adjustments that lead to ALL learners interacting more fully and spontaneously.

What’s yours?

Midterm Teaching Practice Development Goal

Comments (7)

  1. Tom that’s really interesting, did the initial student comment just come up in conversation or was it part of some more intentional feedback? Definitely made me think about my posture in the classroom now, never even considered it before!

    • Hi Alex,

      Glad you stopped by. As I recall, it was somewhat intentional, but I believe I overheard it at first during a pairwork post-task reflection (on my teaching of them). Something about proximity to her while monitoring their taskwork, and it not being so much that I was close but that I was standing tall and pointed right at them. The inference was that if I’d been sitting down and observing them, or even turned sideways with one ear in their direction, I would have been less intimidating. I’ve read as much in a couple off places, and plan to write about it one of these days. Notes are there, time is not.

      I like that you’re thinking about posture/pose. The whole being is in the room, and I think the whole being is a part of every interaction, and all its bits are connected and creating an identity from moment to moment that either aids a particular learner or obstructs him/her. I enjoyed your project-based teaching post today. I look forward to swapping ideas with you. Linking our two posts, I’d say you, each of your learners, and the negotiated understandings of the project’s tasks were integral to the outcome. I’d be interested to hear more about how you think the interaction, t-talk, gestures, board and what-not that you integrated in your last one impacted its success. As for ‘never thinking about posture’ — I think I’ve just spotted another teacher ready for a video-recording :-). Thanks again for stopping by.

  2. I see, very interesting indeed. I’ve thought a lot about expressions and body movements in the classroom, but never really reflected on posture.

    I couldn’t agree more regarding the whole being affecting (whether positively or negatively) not just particular learners, but whole group of learners. Correctly managed, something as small as a smile on a teacher’s face can be enough to control an entire classroom. This is just one example, but in the realm of classroom management, people always discuss overt techniques etc. and, in my opinion, over look the (in this case not so) small things such as posture and expressions.

    Hmmmmm, I think I feel a blog of my own coming on!

    By the way, I don’t get notified on wordpress blogs when people have replied to my comments (I have no idea why), so a cheeky tweet if/when you reply would be awesome!

  3. I find you point about voice & posture to be intriguing. Theater was a bit of a hobby of mine in high school and university (more backstage, but some acting) so I am conscious watching how I use my voice and posture, yet I have never connected them before. (Maybe that is a more advanced acting technique ^^ ). I usually watch for those in separate viewings of my videos, I think I will start trying to see patterns while watching them both. Something to consider at the least.

    • Hi Ivan,

      Chances are, you’ve developed a few default pose/voice matches — I imagine it’s a natural result of repeated social practice. Noticing (intentional word choice, there) them gives you the chance to monitor and adjust them, if necessary. Hmm.

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I'm in this for the dialogue :-)

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