Eyes on the Prize

TECHNIQUE # 51:  Radar/Be Seen Looking

operatattlerMoving into the final chapters of Teach Like a Champion 2.0¹, there is a shift into the “nitty-gritty” of what needs to happen in classrooms; behavior management, otherwise all the aspirations of high academic rigor and productively cannot exist.  Chapter 11: High Behavioral Expectations, describes the physical signals, spaces, routines and posturing, that teachers can put into place, in order to let the High Academic Expectations (Chp.3), thrive.  My question, (and again its an editorial query), is why are the “essential” techniques, placed at the end of the text, entering the race in 51st place?   “…none of those moments of academic rigor happen without a foundation of high behavioral expectations…Students rely on teachers to to create such environments if they are to aspire to academic greatness.”,(p.384)¹.   I’ll address this at the conclusion of the chapter.   In the interim, here is a Uncommon Schools video clip of Patrick Pastore performing the art of technique #51:

#51: Radar/Been Seen Looking:  ‘Prevent nonproductive behavior by developing your ability to see it when it happens and by subtly reminding students that you are looking.’  Not only might #51 require you to “dust off some dance moves”, but students in the various video clips I’ve observed, seem to have fun participating and being behaviorally accountable.

Radar dictates that the teacher should establish a habit of deliberately scanning the room, often in an exaggerated manner; “…disciplining themselves to look as a matter of habit.”¹.  This would have been a ideal place to insert the “mini chapter/technique”, ‘Drawglassesopt the Map: Floors’ (see The Missing Link? page in the blog side bar menu).  TLAC classrooms, as a rule, align student desks in rows.  This topic could become another entire blog… Assuming that students desks are in rows, there are two Radar positions.  ‘Swivel‘ and ‘Perch‘.

‘Swivel’ places the teacher in the center of the front of the room, and slowly, in a 150° arch, left to right, right to left, standing still,survey the entire sweep of the classroom.

‘Perch’ places the teacher in the far L or R corner, at the front of the room.  The gives the teacher even more radar power as the sweeping search (head and eyes) is only an 80° arch. Moving off to the side gives the teacher a better, different perspective; more defense against blind spots.

Here’s another Uncommon Schools video clip, which includes the ‘Perch’ and a lot of being seen and tracking:


Be Seen Looking is “the yin to Radar‘s yang”.  In addition to disciplining to observe students well, you want to “…contrive ways to subtly remind students that you see.”¹  This is radar with intentionality, and occasionally, inviting the students to join in the tracking and/or demonstrate their attentions and ability to follow direction.  Certainly, this can be done with nonchalance and, unnarrated.  However, where’s the fun in that!  Over time, Lemov has accumulated other, “…subtle iterations that cleverly communicate awareness of keen observation back to students.”¹.  I imagine, if pulled off correctly, they might be Solid Gold.

dancmvs.jpgBe Seen Looking Dance Moves: 

  • Invisible Column:  Move your head exaggeratedly to the side (as if looking around a column) to observe that students are doing what was asked of them.
  • The Tiptoes:  Stand for a moment on your tip toes; looking at some imaginary hard to see spot.
  • The Sprinkler:  Start the ‘Swivel’ with head and neck, but before a full rotation, snap your head back a few degrees, as if “I thought I just saw something there, ah, no”, continue with Swivel.  You can snap back as many times as you like, like a sprinkler.
  • The Disco Finger: Teacher traces the track of their gaze with finger outstretched, pointer style.  This makes the Swivel more obvious; students become more aware you are watching.
  • The Politician:  Teacher channels aspiring political candiadate; pointing to all the familiar and important people in the crowd before speaking; silently, “ah, yes you over there, and I know you back there”.  You can throw in a winning smile.
  • The QB:  Teacher takes an NFL quarter back stance, crouching quickly in the center, gazes quickly out at the “defense”.  The students know the play is coming; teachers make sure they see the playing field.

Not as embarrassing as they sound; here’s a video clip of some teacher’s trying out Be Seen Looking Dance Moves:


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