The Power of Observation

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The Power of Observing

A robin in the birdbath. Kids playing frisbee in the driveway. My neighbor working in her garden. A bee buzzing around the zinnias out front. My sweet Lucy dog asleep on the back porch. These are things I love to watch – observing little bits of life – noticing small details to help me better understand what’s going on around me.

As always, our first day at a Zambian school is spent observing teachers, watching their students, and noticing the culture of a classroom. All too often, teachers across the globe are rarely provided the opportunity to watch each other, and yet so much can be gleaned from observing. Listening to what is said while paying attention to teacher and student interactions can help steer us in the right direction on how to best serve both groups. What’s easy? Starting the conversation afterwards, naming the areas of strength in the classroom, asking what went well during the lesson, while praising the teacher for specific accomplishments in the classroom. What’s difficult but worth it? Working together to figure out how to best meet the needs of all students in the classroom, using information from the observations and from the teacher’s perspective. Yes, most school days fly by, and the kids come and go, but if we take the time to notice the little things, it might just make a big impact for our students.

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5 thoughts on “The Power of Observation

  1. So true! Love this post because it reminds me to stop and pay attention. We get so caught up in the business of the day and allow our responses be RE-actions rather than PRO-actions. Taking the time to observe, really look, really listen can make all the difference in the world! Thanks for sending this message half way across the world!

  2. I’ll bet the teachers being observed feel encouraged that you are taking the time to witness their teaching, too. They are setting the example for each other and when they come together and collaborate everyone benefits: the two teachers and their students.

  3. How powerful. In a society currently driven by quantitative data, your qualitative observations are what we need to focus on to grow. It’s what we do and how we do it that make the biggest impact on growth. Keep observing and holding valuable conversations; it’s truly a powerful experience.

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