Empathy is something we aim to develop in the field of education, and many school administrators are leading the way by not only observing teachers but also teaching classes themselves. In this way, they can connect to the challenges that their staff face on a daily basis and better support them.
As teachers looking to empathize with our students, we can easily do the same and put ourselves in our learners’ shoes by following the simple steps below:
Pair up with a colleague at your school and find the times when one of you is teaching and the other is on a prep. so that you will be able to teach one another’s classes. The goal will be to have your colleague teach your class while you sit in as a student and vice versa.
Plan a lesson with varied activities and groupings (individual task, group task, etc.) for 2 to 3 weeks from now, and give it to your partner. This will be the lesson your partner will teach your class while you sit in as a student. It is important that you plan the lesson ahead of time is so that it won’t be fresh in your mind on the day of the lesson, allowing you to form a more objective opinion of how the lesson went.
On one of the chosen days, teach your partner’s lesson while they follow along as a student in their class. Have a debriefing session afterwards to discuss how the lesson went from both your perspective and your colleague’s.
Have your partner teach your planned lesson while you participate as a student in your class. During the lesson, take note of the following:
Planning engaging and purposeful lessons for your learners begins by being able to empathize with their needs, and taking the time to reverse roles is a great starting point. And as a bonus, your students will enjoy having you join them in their learning!
Have you taken on the challenge of switching roles? What insights have you learned? We’d love to hear!
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