It’s observation season at IH Bydgoszcz at the moment. Some of the advice I’ve given has made me think of skills that are really useful to have as a teacher, but which we are very rarely taught, or have to pick up as we go along.
Here are my examples:
- Reading upside-down: really useful for monitoring to see which answers students have.
- Picking out individual student’s voices from the general noise (or the Cocktail party effect): key for both monitoring and assessment, if you’re assessing speaking while the whole class is working. Also, tuning in and out of multiple conversations smoothly.
- All the many functions of a photocopier.
- Sitting down, standing up, and when and why it’s useful to switch positions.
- I’m a fast reader anyway, and think that this was something I may have been able to do before I became a teacher, but I’ve definitely honed this over time. I hadn’t realised that many people found it challenging until recently!
- Another skill I kind of had but am now much better at. The flipside of this is that I find it very hard to tune out of conversations when I’m not in a classroom, so I can join in with staffroom conversations even when I’m sitting in my office 10m away 😉 I also sometimes find it hard to focus on conversations in restaurants etc. if there’s another interesting conversation going on nearby, or I’ll flit between the two conversations. Apologies to anyone I’ve done that too!
- I think most people are probably shown one or two ‘magic’ things their local copier can do, but there are so many other functions that generally remain a mystery!
- I’m mostly thinking about small groups here, up to about 16 students. I know some schools have rules about sitting/standing, but it’s often not addressed on training courses.
So (how) did you learn these skills? How can you help other people to learn them? What else would you add to the list?