Do we ever take enough time to observe?

I mean well and truly observe?

Now it is obvious that the possession of senses and of knowledge is not sufficient to enable a person to observe; it is a habit which must be developed by practice. When an attempt is made to show untrained persons stellar phenomena by means of the telescope, or the details of a cell under the microscope, however much the demonstrator may try to explain by word of mouth what ought to be seen, the layman cannot see it. . . . It is well known that when a new discovery is to be explained to the public, it is necessary to set fort the coarser details’ the uninitiated cannot take in those minute details which constituted the real essence of the discovery. And this is because they are unable to observe.

Maria Montessori, p. 102, The Advanced Montessori Method

“A habit that must be developed by practice.” How often do I spend time observing my own classroom? If I were to go by the strict definition I was given in my training (sitting uninterrupted in a chair with notes for at least 30 minutes), I fall quite short. I’m lucky to get to do it weekly. This is not to say that I’m not observing my class at all times. I make a running list of quick notes in my head, and tend to jot them down at the end of the day. “K needs more work in Language, struggling with Pink Reading.”  “B has mastered the Map of Africa, has great interest in animals, perhaps a tie in?” 

However after reading this passage, in fact this entire chapter in the Advanced Montessori Method, I feel I need to step-up my observation game significantly. What am I missing?


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