We all know that actions speak louder than words. What we do is more telling than what we say. As educators, how well do we listen to those actions on a regular basis? What is our class trying to tell us?
We know what Little Johnny is saying when he is bouncing off the walls. We have learned to "listen" to Little Johnny's actions frequently to meet his needs pro-actively. What about the class as a whole? When the entire class is speaking to us, do we listen?
If 95% of the class sits on the edge of their seats, hanging on to your every word, you know they are engaged. When the entire class is participating in small group science experiments, you know they are engaged. Likewise, if six kids are actively choosing to ignore you and the assignment at hand, what does that tell you? It tells you that the activity you designed for today's learning has room for improvement. Those six kids are telling you what they think.
During your best lesson of the year, how many of your kids are fully engaged? Probably all of them. Your best lesson captures them all! Dave Burgess, author of, "Teach Like a Pirate," talks about the lessons that kids would pay to be a part of. Every decent teacher has a few of these. These are the lessons the kids love and the teacher loves too!
These lessons fully engage students. The more of them you have, the better your class will be. The kids will learn more and their actions will tell you how much they like it. What about the lessons that aren't worth the price of the ticket quite yet? Kids would not pay for them. When you "listen" to the actions of the class, what do you learn?
This week, pay special attention to what your class is telling you without any words. Your students' actions only speak louder than their words if you are listening. Also, pay more attention to what you do. Your students are always listening to your actions.