Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Are You Looking At?

Today I gave my classes a survey as a way to gain some feedback on how the first quarter has gone.  One of the questions was "What would make you more comfortable asking questions in class?"

Here is the response that really pushed back:
Well, this may seem silly and childish, but you want the truth, right?
Well, when a student asks a question, you seem to direct your answer to the person who asked it, which makes me feel uncomfortabe. I mean, if other people don't understand, then why only talk to one person, instead of the whole class? It makes me feel weird, like I'm the only one who doesn't understand, and the teacher looking at one single student seems to cause everyone to look, making the student even MORE uncomfortable. As I read over this, I feel I want to delete it, because it seems so silly and unnecessary of mentioning. I won't delete it, I guess, because I suppose you want to know this, no matter how silly it (mine) is.

WOW! I had never really thought of that.  Yeah, I guess if I am burning a whole through a kid with my gaze while I am answering a question, it may just make them think twice about asking another one.  I don't think I do that, but perception is reality to these kids.  So if she says I do it, I guess I do.  Need to keep a watch out for that one. 

Where do you look when you are answering a question from a student?


Mr. Sweeney said...

Glad you shared this. I can remember doing the same thing earlier today!

Kate Nowak said...

I suppose I keep looking back at the questioner. It seems...polite? To address them when addressing their question. It didn't occur to me that it would make them uncomfortable. I guess we chalk this up to one more way the group/lecturer dynamic is weird. "omg she's LOOKING at me! noooo!!!" when the kid might be perfectly friendly and interact normally one on one.