In a recent article listing twenty simple ideas for signaling Credibility to our students, one of the ideas was pretty indirect — watching someone else teach. How does this boost our credibility signal to students?
Let's begin handling that question by actually doing what it suggests — let's watch someone who is good at teaching. Chris Painter is one of our colleagues who teaches high school math — and, coincidentally, Chris is one of my best friends at work and teaches ten feet down the hall from me.
Some time ago, Chris let me film him teaching a four-year-old mathematics via number talking. It was a masterclass. (And it was also hilarious because the four-year-old is my son who likes to stick out his tongue.)
Here's Chris — and I know, the video is kind of long at eight minutes, but watch it all the way to the end where Chris debriefs what he was noticing while doing the teaching.
Now, before we move on, take a minute to note for yourself things that stood out to you in the video. Some things to ponder:
- His tone
- How he handled setbacks
- How he handled victories
- His pacing
- His patience
- His behind-the-scenes thought processes that he shared during the debrief
So here's my thesis: just making note of those things in another teacher's practice is almost guaranteed to influence how I approach my next lesson. Maybe the influence will be conscious — maybe I'll muster greater patience the next time a student struggles. Or maybe it'll be unconscious — I'll just find myself with a bit more pep in my step remembering Chris' positive demeanor.
But regardless, me watching Chris's practice for what is exemplary in it is going to shape me into being a more exemplary teacher. And if I made a practice of this — of watching a good teacher at their craft, aiming my attention at what works well — you can bet you'd see an increase in my CCP signal-sending.
So who can you watch this week — even for just eight minutes?
Best to you, colleague,
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