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Evidence on Reading and Changing State

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      Ricky Chan

      After quitting my teaching post and providing trainings for teachers of different schools on “Brain-Based Teaching” 12 years ago, I have the opportunities to observe more than 2000 lessons from kindergarten to Secondary level. Compare to the kindergarten and primary level, many teachers teaching secondary level students have the tendency to pay most of their attention to the teaching plan rather than students’ learning states. During the lesson, they put their focus on the group of actively participating students while ignoring those non-responsive or unmotivated students. Those teachers claimed that they didn’t know they were acting like this or did not mean to ignore them. I would say that they hadn’t form the habits of “reading learners’ state”, therefore they fail to notice as well as couldn’t change students’ states accordingly.

      In order to increase teachers’ awareness on reading students’ state, I will jot down all evidences I noticed during the lesson observations, especially students’ body posture and facial expressions with reference to teacher’s action for each teaching steps and later share with the teachers after the lesson. Usually there will be more than 60 descriptions within a 40 minutes lesson and most teachers responded that those descriptions were very useful for their reflection. I will also take video of the lesson and show students’ states frame by frame to identify the relationship between teaching strategies and students’ behavior, as well as students’ emotion and mind states.

      With the videos tracing teachers initial teaching methods and progressively those modified ones, most teachers could see that more students being engaged and even the Special Education Need students in their class behaved differently and positively after teachers applied more “Brain-Compatible” strategies in their second lessons being observed.

      In my experience, most of the teachers improved a lot after 2 to 3 times being observed and debriefed in such a way. Some schools in Hong Kong invited us to provide lesson observations for the under performed teachers and reported that great improvements were seen after 3 times visit. Therefore video analysis and evidence-based lesson observation especially with focus on “Reading and Changing State” can benefit teachers’ development on teaching, as well as increase the awareness of “Teaching with the Brain in Mind”. I highly recommend this lesson observation, analysis and coaching method!!

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