Engage in the Art of Noticing

Mar 17, 2020

Dr. Mandy Benedict-Chambers

A teacher's job is complex. Not only does the teacher need to communicate subject matter clearly, he or she must do so in a manner that keeps attention. He must minimize distractions, answer questions as they arise, provoke students' critical thinking skills and perhaps most importantly, notice.

Dr. Mandy Benedict-Chambers, associate professor of childhood education and family studies at Missouri State University and coordinator of the elementary education graduate program, explains the importance of teacher noticing.

"Teachers notice particular things in certain ways. When they're in the classroom they have to really think about what a child says and what is important about that idea," she said. "Then they have to modify their instruction in terms of what that child is saying to better support that student's learning." 

Benedict-Chambers includes video in many of her research projects and in some of her graduate students' classrooms. It lets her review a teacher's performance. It also allows the teacher to go back and review the day, slow down a lesson, take in parts of the classroom that perhaps were not as vocal during discussion and ultimately notice how the students were taking in the information.

In a third grade classroom during a science lesson on condensation, the teacher noticed students didn't understand the sweat on the side of a soda can.

"The next day, she brought back these cold soda cans, and she gave students white paper towels," Benedict-Chambers said. "The students would wipe the side of the cold can and would see that there's no brown soda. It just helped them to develop some evidence that it's actually the water vapor condensing on the side of the can."