Drawing-in-the-air for teaching and learning

Graduation: swirling graduates’ gowns gather in the grounds of a cathedral. A student presented me to her mother saying she remembered everything I had taught her. I gently teased her, at which point she flung her arms out wide and waggled her fingers gently, repeating words I said two years previously: “I AM A UTERUS!! Here are the fimbriae, wafting the egg into the fallopian tubes…”

 uterusPeer observation of teaching practice is deemed good practice for novice and experienced lecturers. An alternative is self-coaching via videoing teaching practice with Panopto. This may be as part of the PGCert, TeachBU or appraisal but regular reflection is the greatest benefit of the process.

I came to videoed self-coaching by accident. I was analysing research videos of a Drawing Programme that I had facilitated. Though I watched participants through my “researcher” lenses I became distracted by my on-screen presence. I was scrutinising myself through my “lecturer” and “coach” lenses. I irritated myself due to expansive gesturing while explaining processes.

Concurrently, I conducted a mid-unit evaluation on a module I was teaching. The following week, I presented the results and added that viewing research video data made me aware of how much I moved my arms during teaching. I apologised and said I would attempt to change this habit. As I wandered round during learning activities, several students requested that I DID NOT STOP using my body to explain concepts. Students reiterated several examples of how altering physical positions, which I did without much conscious awareness, helped reinforce concepts. My facial and bodily gestures were drawings-in-the-air that punctuated speech. They explained how these performative enactments conveyed different notions than speech alone which they valued for learning.

Videoing teaching situations are easier than before but I would advocate sharing self-appraisals with colleagues and students as they may see things differently to you.

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