Education practitioners, including Ofsted inspectors and Teacher Educators, try to make sense of behaviour in the classroom by observing the interaction of teachers and learners. They make judgements about what is good teaching, what is bad learner behaviour and what are inclusive and effective learning experiences. This article argues that such observations are inadequate for assessing and evaluating learning behaviour and insufficient to enable teachers to develop their own personalised teaching and learning strategies and their confidence as professional teachers. The article was written in response to examples of Further Education (FE) teachers describing the college classroom as a war zone and a battlefield (Lebor, 2013). The author argues that such metaphors reinforce the notion that teachers and learners are situated at opposing sides of an education institution with differing interests. They also ignore the position of the teacher as being a learner too. The author advocates using an existentialist approach to understanding and reflecting on the learning process. She models strategies she has used herself to attempt to step outside the conventional paradigm of learning in college and create a new framework for reflecting on what is good behaviour from a teacher and good behaviour from a learner.
How to CiteRennie S. (2015) “Underneath the Observational Snapshot: Looking For Sense and Meaning Behind the First Impressions of a Learning Interaction”, Teaching in Lifelong Learning. 6(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/till.2015.6225