Recently, a colleague of mine from a university approached me with a project that involves video coaching and self-reflection. My words indicated that I was interested in this pr0ject. It would ultimately help me become a better teacher, give me support for action research, and lead to a better science experience for my students. Plus, it would help my university colleague with his efforts to research and publish. Behind my words of support and optimism, though, lurked fear. What’s the name of this fear? Maybe it’s fear of not measuring up. Maybe it’s fear that there is a disconnect between my view of myself and reality. Maybe it’s just a fear of judgment. Regardless, I realized that it would take some courage for me to analyze video of myself teaching or to allow anyone else to view and critique the video.
As I thought about my fears, I began to think also about my students. Daily, we ask students to put their learning on display for evaluation–usually without pausing to consider the fear that may lurk inside them. We highlight mistakes in assignments in an effort to help them avoid making future mistakes, but what’s the effect on the child’s self-concept and self-esteem? How can we take these evaluative situations and turn them into opportunities for growth while eliminating the fear? I think it starts with a growth mindset and continues as students learn the art of self-evaluation. What will you do this week to help ease students’ fear of judgment in your class?