It was this interaction in particular that struck me, and that continues to strike me (I've discussed this day with several people this summer so apparently it's really stuck with me). When teacher as facilitator works, it seems effortless for both the student and the teacher. Neither of us noticed that we were doing a particularly good job working together until someone else asked. (It might've been Bowen who facilitated this realization.) I've heard the claim that the only people who make more decisions per minute than teachers are air traffic controllers, but I've never considered how many of those decisions are subconscious. Or maybe more accurately, conscious but not noteworthy? Reflecting back on twenty minutes of teaching, I couldn't identify my best teacher moves. I can sometimes identify my worst ones, those moments where the class or the interaction is suddenly derailed. But most days I attribute successful classes to a good lesson plan, or students having a particularly good day. I never celebrate something I did during the time I was teaching. Do we even have the language to describe such things?
I am curious how I can have more of these realizations. How can I reflect on this aspect of my teaching? And I'm also concerned. If I never consciously think about where I give my attention, how can I eliminate bias in my teaching? Short of demanding Bowen observe my classes and ask insightful questions, what can I do?
Two possibilities come to mind:
- Someone makes a list of things to be aware of, I pick one to focus on for the day or for the week. This could make an awesome blogging series if others joined in.
- I record video and convince people to ask me questions. I don't think I can post it publicly though. And how would I know which chunk to share so that there's something interesting? Maybe that's exactly the point - I choose the most boring ten minutes I can and then others convince me I was still doing something worthwhile (or should've been).