For Instructors

You gotta just look 'em in the eye?

Eye contact. I?ve never really thought about it much when I teach my fitness classes. I know that I tend to avoid eye contact in conversation?I think it?s a cultural thing related to deference to others?and have constantly had to work on holding an eye gaze during conversation. But it never occurred to me that eye contact could be critical in creating a connection in my fitness classes. My supervisor came and took one of my classes last week, and when I asked for feedback, she said that she noticed I tended to look down?but that on the occasion when I did look up and at the class, I readily created a connection to the class which they seemed to be craving. Honestly, it never even occurred to me how important this could be?if you read my earlier blogs about working on creating a connection, my focus had been on getting to know students? names, and trying to learn their fitness goals. How interesting that in my single mindedness I forgot about the critical aspect of humanness and connection?the eye gaze! I know that in the classes which I?m most familiar and comfortable in teaching?my group ex fitness class?I do a lot of holding eye gaze and in fact will do silly things such as winking at class members when I?ve made an ?inside? joke, or sticking out my tongue when a student and I are pushing ourselves to the limit. I?ve never made a conscious effort, however, to think about and understand its meaning in creating a ?dialogue? of sorts with the class. It?s great to know and to think on?and now I?m wondering if there are other things I?m not thinking about, other ways in which we can create meaningful connections that I have yet to fully consciously consider. Any thoughts folks? -June



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