Demanding Eye Contact

Early in my teaching career (beginning in 1969), I demanded eye contact from my students…. but only when confronting one about inappropriate behavior. Back then it seemed to me that kids were supposed to make eye contact to prove they were listening to you. That is false. Demanding eye contact is – and remains to this day – a power struggle between adult and child, teacher and pupil, employee and boss.

What I learned from my students was that many of them found it difficult, if not impossible, to avoid eye contact or they would not be able to focus on what I was saying… regardless of the nature of our interaction. After finally understanding this, why would I ever demand that ANY student look me in the eye.

1 comment
  1. In some cultures looking an adult – or an elder – in the eye is considered a sign of disrespect.

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