The Hawthorne Effect

Gorilla reacting to being watchedNothing keeps me on my teaching game like visitors entering the room mid-lesson. It’s the best. It’s a challenge. Am I on point? Do I need to step it up? I always do.

But if I’m able to step it up, that means I was a step or two down. So how did I get there?

This is the subjective side of the Hawthorne Effect. In a sentence, the Hawthorne Effect is the change in behavior that happens when people know they are being observed.

You’ve seen it in classrooms whenever a group of administrators walk in. The students change their behavior (hopefully for the better!). But the observers are not really seeing a typical slice in time in your room.

It affects me as well. I find myself becoming a little more animated, a little more engaged, and more conscious of using the teaching methods that I always should be.

My question to myself is, again: If I can step it up, I must have been a step down, so how’d I get there?

I don’t plan on answering that question in this post, because I don’t really have a clear answer… yet. But maybe I need to put a big poster in the back of the room that says:

CAN YOU STEP IT UP?


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