It’s a simple thing really… making eye contact with the person you are speaking with is critical to good listening and showing respect, understanding, and interest. Year after year, sprouts funnel into my classroom and have never been taught the importance of eye contact… so I add it to the million other principles I teach.
One of the fun ways I’ve found to practice eye contact is for dismissal. When the class is on the carpet and I need to dismiss them to their tables, line, or for any reason, one of the ways I do it is by making eye contact. I sit silent and they have to look at me and wait until our eyes lock. It always amazes me how many struggle with making and keeping eye contact. For some reason, they love this ‘game’ and beg me to use it as a means to dismiss time after time.
By the time they leave me in June, I’m hopeful they get more comfortable with making eye contact and realize how important it is in their communication arsenals.