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Gazing in Education

A systematic approach to defusing the pressures that distract from learning.

For teachers today, the pressure to deliver good grades - or just to survive in struggling schools – has never been greater. While for students, stress comes from all angles, from dealing with the emotional and physical turmoil of growing up, to meeting high expectations in terms of academic achievement.

Bring together all these pressures and it’s no wonder that the average classroom can often be an intense, even volatile environment - with potentially disastrous consequences for learning. And yet, despite this obvious truth, nobody specifically teaches teachers how to handle the pressures they will inevitably face.

Nobody except Gazing, we should say. Drawing on our wide expertise in the field of performance under pressure, we’ve devised a system that clearly shows what causes tension and stress in the classroom, and how they can be addressed. Crucially, Inside Classroom Performance isn’t just concerned with the teacher’s perspective; it provides a framework for understanding and responding appropriately to pressure that is equally relevant to students of all ages.

Inside Classroom Performance: System Structure

Who is it for?

Everyone involved in the school environment: teachers, students, senior staff, board members/governors, and allied professionals.

How many?

We're very flexible.  The format can be based on anything from one-to-one sessions, through small groups, to whole classes.

What's involved?

Our Inside Classroom Performance System is delivered in two main phases:-

  1. Introductory workshops: a series of eight one hour modules, which can be run on a weekly basis, or delivered more intensively over two days.
  2. Implementation: depending on the initial workshops, this usually takes the form of a series of regular skill acquisition sessions, to develop more sophisticated performance and leadership skills.

The Gazing Inside Classroom Performance System

Like all Gazing Performance improvement Systems, Inside Classroom Performance works on three levels to help teachers and students understand the pressures they are under, and learn how to respond appropriately - in a way that enables them to work together more productively.

  1. Seeing the big picture
  2. The over-riding principle on which our system is based is that the key to improved classroom performance is control of attention; that’s to say, the ability to stay “on task” and focused, no matter what pressures may be at work.

    Importantly, this isn’t about attributing blame or making assumptions as to the causes of pressure; it’s about getting a clear and accurate sense of the dynamic within the classroom, as a whole. And it’s equally valuable to teachers and students. For teachers, for example, it’s easy to lose focus on the real task in hand because of disruptive behaviour. Similarly, students can be distracted from learning by a variety of external factors, ranging from family worries to peer group rivalries.

    Using the Gazing Inside Classroom Performance map, it’s easy for teachers and students to find their bearings in this regard, checking at a glance whether they are on or off task - and if the latter, where their attention ought to be.

  3. Understanding the framework
  4. More specifically, the map shows on a single page what both sides contribute to classroom performance, highlighting the pressure points and pitfalls that can cause focus of attention to blur, or allow emotional issues to become overwhelming. And, like any good map, it enables the user to identify the right pathways to follow, and the diversions to avoid, in order to move in the desired direction.

    A visually simple and easily memorable representation of complex ideas, the map is based on solid principles of social and cognitive psychology. And, fundamental to the Gazing approach to improved classroom performance, it’s shared by teachers and students - giving both sides a common framework, and bringing their understanding and objectives into alignment. The most consistent feedback we’ve had from schools is that it’s this that helps create calm and composure where previously there had often been chaos.

  5. Using the right tools
    • A clear understanding of the key principle of improved performance under pressure through control of attention
    • A working knowledge of the Inside Classroom Performance map
    • A working knowledge of the Teachers or Students X-Check tool
    • A firm grasp of how the map plus tools can be used in real-life classroom situations to address difficulties, minimise distractions, and improve all round performance
  6. In all Gazing Systems, it’s the combination of a map plus practical tools that gets results.With the overview firmly in mind, the tools allow participants to turn their understanding into specific, focused action - recognising when and why performance slips, and how it can be improved.

    For example, in most classrooms disruption is caused by a minority of students, though their influence has a negative effect on all. Using the Teachers X-Check tool, it’s easy to “diagnose” the root causes, and identify the appropriate response. Similarly, our Students X-Check tool enables the user to apply the key Inside Classroom Performance principles in pressure situations; checking why focus has been lost and how to get back “on task”.

Results and benefits

In general terms, the major benefit delivered by the Gazing Inside Classroom Performance System is what teachers and students alike describe as a sense of being calmer and more in control; more energised and less quick to tire; less easily distracted and more focused on what matters.

More specifically, at the end of the introductory workshops, every participant will have:

Another vitally important benefit of our system is that it can be applied effectively in all types of school. In those with high achievement levels, we can help to improve performance still further. While in schools facing major issues - from poor results to serious discipline problems - the Gazing map can help teachers, head teachers and others in leadership positions find a better way forward, both in terms of day-to-day routine and long term strategic planning.

Finally, for students and teachers, our Inside Classroom Performance System can also be of much wider benefit. Because the principles and techniques involved in learning how to improve performance under pressure are equally applicable outside the classroom; a valuable life-skill that will stand them in good stead whatever the future may hold for them.

Why maps are the way to go

Maps are the single most distinctive and innovative feature of the Gazing approach. We believe they are, quite simply, the most powerful and practical form of communication available. There is nothing theoretical about a map; it shows where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. It helps get you moving in the right direction. And, best of all, you don’t need to be taught how to use a map; from the moment it’s in your hands, you can start using it.

Unlike maps of physical terrain, ours represent a mental landscape; and since the broad principles of how the human mind works don’t change, a Gazing map will never become out of date. This universal quality also explains why many participants find that our maps can be useful in all kinds of situations, not just professionally but also within their personal lives.

Contact us now to find out more about Gazing Performance Systems in Education, and how we can help you.