How They Think – Pay Attention

Years ago, I sat in on a deaf class in the Philippines. While teaching, the teacher signed, “miracle.” Almost every deaf in the room asked, “What means miracle?” She ignored them. She just kept signing the lessons while the whole class was asking, “What means miracle?” She was not giving attention to them. She was not seeing what THEY were thinking about the lesson. Because of that, the lesson was not understood. (Later I stood up and asked her to explain. She did not know how to explain the word “miracle.”) How do we know when someone does not understand our thinking and teaching?

Here are some ideas.

1. Pay attention to their faces and eyes. These 2 things alone will tell you much. Watch for puzzlement, not understanding, or just a blank look. I often have asked, “Do you understand?” They replied, “Yes, I understand.” But their face and eyes said, NO, NO, NO, NO. Watch for these things, despite what they may say, and explain.

2. Let them repeat the story or lesson. Repeat until they understand. You will find out very quickly what they did or did not understand. I often use pictures or skits to review the lesson. Repeating the lesson helps to fill in any blanks in understanding.

3. Ask questions. My favorite method of checking understanding is to ask questions. Who first man? Who first woman? Can our good save? Questions will clearly show what they are thinking. Questions will show their understanding about the lesson. You can then help them with anything that is not clear.

Pay attention to what they are thinking and understanding. Teach until they understand.

More next time.

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