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Intuition – A Teacher’s Best Frenemy

Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011 in Reflections, Teaching

I’m naturally a very intuitive person: the monotony of choosing to be explicit about minute details bores me to tears. The beautiful thing is that more often than not, that intuition has proven an invaluable trait. It allows me to think strategically, to go big picture with ideas and to often troubleshoot classroom issues before they arise. It’s a beautiful thing, and thus my intuition is my best friend as a teacher.

But the sad truth is that my beautiful intuition is also my enemy. By trusting my instincts rather than meticulously recording what goes on for individual students, I miss things. Students miss concepts I’ve tried to teach because they’ve looked competent, and I’ve found out later they were too proud to ask, or just didn’t realise they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

So I’m learning to change: my intuition is no longer the badge of honour it might have once been, but rather a powerful (if unreliable) tool in the toolkit, used but not depended on. I’m trying desperately to get into the habit of recording more, being more explicit with questions as well as answers and at least pretending to care about the details.

Plus – I do really like the frenemy neologism.

Bring on the comments

  1. Quentin says:

    I agree!!! I need to be more detail-oriented… sigh