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1. What is… good Noticing?

What do we mean by Noticing?

Learning often relies on being able to pay attention to what you are interested in: not necessarily thinking about it, just really noticing how it looks, what it is made of, or how it behaves. Many professionals, from poets to scientists to business managers, rely on this quality of attentive noticing: being able to identify the significant detail, or to let an underlying pattern of connections emerge into their minds. Sometimes you have to be patient before the detail or the pattern will reveal itself to you, like looking for sea creatures in a rock pool.

This is a skill that can be strengthened with practice. We often pick up this skill from people around us. Babies very soon learn to work out what their mother is focusing on, and to ‘share joint attention’ with her. It helps to be around people who are demonstrating this ability to watch carefully and turn their observations into accurate descriptions. Getting a really clear sense of what, before starting to think about how or why, is very useful.

What does being a good Noticer involve?

If you have a well formed Noticing habit you will be ready, willing, and able to:

  • be attentive to details and subtleties in order to understand things;
  • seek underlying patterns patiently, understanding that connections take time to emerge;
  • actively use all your senses to gather information to build understanding of the world around;
  • gain a clear sense of the ‘what’ of something before considering the ‘why’ and ‘how’;
  • recognise that learning is often complex and difficult and takes time and effort to accomplish.

Spot the Noticers in your classes

Just to get you tuned in – have a quick think about ‘noticers you may know’. Make a note of students you know who display these characteristics.

 Becoming a teacher who develops students’ learning power means developing a keen awareness of the subtleties of your students’ learning behaviours. 

Good learning habits – Noticing_v2

What do you think?

  • How many of your students come to mind when looked at through the lens of noticing?
  • Is there a gender balance or have you noted down more girls than boys or vice versa?
  • Are the students you have noted from across all age groups or do some dominate?
  • How do these ‘noticing characteristics’ help these students to be better learners?

Make a note of…Little_r

  • Those groups or classes that seem to have lots of good noticing characteristics.
  • How you think you might capitalise on this.

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