Day 100 (of 188) Look me in the eye (and some other unsuccessful strategies)
Today I was asked (after supporting an adult with student who was displaying some challenging behaviour) “doesn’t it bother you when they don’t look you in the eye?
For me – it never bothers me. I don’t need anyone to look me in the eye – I may want it in some instances but “need”…..that’s a strong word (especially for anxious learners and so many more!)
Growing up and working where I did, I’m good with adapting my ‘social norms’- because some people can’t (well beyond won’t) look me in the eye…but they’re still listening. They’re still reflecting. Their reasons are their own.
“One size doesn’t fit all”. In tools, learning and even restitution.
“Meet them where they are”. In schema and in problem solving.
I’m also very aware that I don’t do well “solving problems” when I’m in a “red brain” (green = good; yellow = conflicted; red = stuck) so I know better than to get ‘a whole story’ from anyone in a red-brain. It’s not going to happen if you are doing “McDonalds discipline” (good justice served quick) but if you have the time….use it. And know who your learners are. If they ain’t looking you “in the eyes” there’s probably a good (okay – wrong word in most cases…..how about “valid”) reason they aren’t – it might not excuse the action(s) but very likely will go a long way to explaining it!
Quite often I’m not being “looked at in the eye” at the start of our conversation, but usually I’ll get eye contact by the end. That’s good enough for me.
Other not-so-successful strategies:
Don’t smile until Christmas
Pushing letter grades as motivators
Homework to teach rigor
Assuming everyone is well fed (and well rested and had a calm night/morning)
Assuming every assignment (esp if it came off a photocopier…) will inspire learning in all learners.