“Reading” is a skill you will find yourself cultivating in your students from day one in the classroom until the end of the semester. They use reading to find the right classroom, to register the date and their teacher’s name, to find the Resource Center or the Coordinator’s Office. Reading ability will determine the ease (or difficulty) with which the students interpret written instructions to an exercise or participate in a scripted dialog in a textbook.
Reading may one day lead your students into enlightening research, the expansion of comfortable dimensions of knowledge, the tingle of literary adventure or romance.
But….are you “reading” your students?
Many teachers begin a semester with intense concern for the lesson plan, the materials they will use, the technologies they will employ in the process. Have they reliably led the class from point A to point D, with demonstrably positive results (evident in the students’ overall performance)?
In following the trajectory of a prescribed teaching path, the instructors become so intent on the intermediate and end goals that they may overlook the signs that indicate how the students - on a less obvious level - are absorbing or reacting to the class in question.
Are you (the teacher) attentive to the following “reading” signals:
- Willing and consistent eye contact
- Alert and energetic posture (vs slouching and lounging)
- Precision in repetition (vs relatively soundless mouthing, avoidance)
- Interested, forthcoming collaboration with fellow students
- Alacrity in response to task initiation and follow-through (vs sluggish foot-dragging that results in frustrated task completion)
- Tone of voice (confident vs timid) and nature of attitude (positive projection vs reticent or somewhat surly rejection)
- Choice of seating (outside the teacher’s peripheral vision or within easy visual “reach”)