Reflection is critical for my development as an educator. Last year, during an observation, I approached a student and asked him to share his thinking with me. As he explained the reasoning behind his incorrect solution, I began posing questions to probe the depth of his misunderstanding. In a post-observation meeting, it was brought to my attention that by asking too many questions, I may have inadvertently shut down the student’s willingness to verbalize his thoughts. This was evident by his briefer and briefer explanations after each question I posed, as well as through his slumped body language.
Since that moment, I’ve become increasingly aware of how even my best intentions can lead to unintended results. This week, I examine why it’s important to take time to consider before responding to faulty student thinking based on a video coaching session. I reflect on how I’ve shifted from putting a student on the spot to respond immediately, to giving the student — and myself — time to process until we can meet privately. By attending to these details, I’m becoming more aware of the teacher moves I can take to create a safe culture for making mistakes inside the classroom.