What do you call this situation in English?

by awledd
12 replies
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A new teacher in our class wouldn't dare look directly into the students. He may see the ceiling or just above us. Is this shyness? I don't think so. Any word for it in English? But I think most of us would not look straight into the eye when we talk each other. For some it may be hard to do that. Is there any word for a situation like this?
  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    WHO KNOWS? It IS a common symptom of autism though. Did you know that most, possibly all, primates do NOT like being looked in the eye? Outside of SOME humans, they consider it an afront and threat and may even attack.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
    I hate it when someone is talking to me but refuses to look me in the eye. It tends to make me think they are hiding something. Of course, the fixed type of aggressive staring of some, on the other hand, just comes across as borderline sociopathic behaviour!

    Maybe the teacher in question is just being rude, has poor social skills, or is displaying some type of misplaced superiority complex? Not looking at someone, while conversing, can be a passive-aggressive behavioural trait as it tends to, in part, reject the presence of the other party.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
      Originally Posted by David Braybrooke View Post

      I hate it when someone is talking to me but refuses to look me in the eye. It tends to make me think they are hiding something. Of course, the fixed type of aggressive staring of some, on the other hand, just comes across as borderline sociopathic behaviour!
      Which is another way of saying "Damned if you do, damned if you don't"
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      • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
        Originally Posted by MikeAmbrosio View Post

        Which is another way of saying "Damned if you do, damned if you don't"
        No, it's another way of saying that there is a comfortable middle ground. Looking away occasionally from the person you are talking to, even for a brief moment, can lead to a more relaxed and enjoyable type of conversing.
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
          Originally Posted by David Braybrooke View Post

          No, it's another way of saying that there is a comfortable middle ground. Looking away occasionally from the person you are talking to, even for a brief moment, can lead to a more relaxed and enjoyable type of conversing.
          I know.

          I was making a funny
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          • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
            Originally Posted by MikeAmbrosio View Post

            I know.

            I was making a funny
            Sorry, I don't know you well enough yet to always get your particular sense of humour.

            @HeySal - Wouldn't the teacher be smart to establish good eye contact and relating skills early on? If they just can't do it then maybe they shouldn't be teaching? Just a thought.
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            • Profile picture of the author HeySal
              Originally Posted by David Braybrooke View Post

              Sorry, I don't know you well enough yet to always get your particular sense of humour.

              @HeySal - Wouldn't the teacher be smart to establish good eye contact and relating skills early on? If they just can't do it then maybe they shouldn't be teaching? Just a thought.
              If the problem persists they need to do something about it. Like I said, it may be just that it's a new group. If the problem persists, yet they are good at teaching when comfortable, they can do other creative things like put all the desks in a circle, and talk to everyone from a seated position. That seems to help some people a lot - both kids who may be shy to speak out and teachers who are a little "speaker" shy.
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              Sal
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    It could be caused by a mild case of "stage fright" -- which is why someone would not look into an audience when they are in front of it. That would be the name given to it under this circumstance.

    It could also be that it's hard for the teacher to remember what they are saying when they look at the individuals in the group -- especially if it's a new group and the teacher doesn't know them yet.

    I used to teach public speaking and frankly, I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on in some people's heads when they get in front of people. It's a very freakishly bizarre situation to some people and they do all sorts of crazy crap. Some even faint. I never had problem one speaking to a group, so I really don't "get it" myself. I tried to empathize but came up with nadda.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      It could be caused by a mild case of "stage fright" -- which is why someone would not look into an audience when they are in front of it. That would be the name given to it under this circumstance.

      It could also be that it's hard for the teacher to remember what they are saying when they look at the individuals in the group -- especially if it's a new group and the teacher doesn't know them yet.

      I used to teach public speaking and frankly, I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on in some people's heads when they get in front of people. It's a very freakishly bizarre situation to some people and they do all sorts of crazy crap. Some even faint. I never had problem one speaking to a group, so I really don't "get it" myself. I tried to empathize but came up with nadda.
      But when speaking to a group, people often suggest looking at all the people, etc... It isn't like you can maintain eye contact with 100 people.

      Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author awledd
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      It could be caused by a mild case of "stage fright" -- which is why someone would not look into an audience when they are in front of it. That would be the name given to it under this circumstance.

      It could also be that it's hard for the teacher to remember what they are saying when they look at the individuals in the group -- especially if it's a new group and the teacher doesn't know them yet.

      I used to teach public speaking and frankly, I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on in some people's heads when they get in front of people. It's a very freakishly bizarre situation to some people and they do all sorts of crazy crap. Some even faint. I never had problem one speaking to a group, so I really don't "get it" myself. I tried to empathize but came up with nadda.
      Maybe it is a stage fight. Maybe not exactly because people usually get used to situations and it doesn't bother them after a while. He has been a teacher quite for some time and he never looks at us.

      at the begining of school in the first year, one teacher gave us assignment which was to be presented infront of students. I saw a number of freakish shows. Two of the girls were about to faint. Fortunately in my group turn it was discontinued due to lack of time. Another big one awaits me at the end of this year. I guess many people are not comfortable at public speaking at least in the begining.

      I myself am never comfortable before audiences. I have little experience on that and hope to improve. But what is so frightening of an audience?? And yes where do you look when you stand before people?
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      • Profile picture of the author eric669
        Sounds like stage fright and a case of nerves to me.
        Give it a week or two and see if there's any changes
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Is the teacher good to fantastic as far as knowledge and content goes?

    It might be that he or she is very knowledgeable and trying
    to be very thoughtful and careful in their approach and what they say.
    So, they might be in deep thought about the subject, or gathering
    their thoughts as they go.

    I used to deal with an attorney who was tops in the state and probably nation.
    He was one of the names on the stationery at a big firm. He was known to
    conduct case meetings with no interruptions, his eyes closed, head down,
    and lights off so he could focus on the information.

    I had a college professor who was very boring and monotone in presentation
    style, but if you overlooked that, you learned a lot and he was one of the most
    helpful professors I ever had.

    I guess what I'm sayin is cut him or her some slack and focus on the content.

    Also, someday you could respectfully approach this person in a sincerely helpful
    way about their style. Suggest maybe they make brief eye contact with random
    students as they present the material. They could even pick the nicer students
    ahead of time.

    I had a new professor in a college class. She lacked presentation skills. One time
    after handing our tests back to us, she started reading the questions and correct
    answers to us word for word. Students started walking out on her 'cause it was so
    boring and she was just about in tears. I went up to her after class and she could
    tell I was being sincere and constructive as I explained why they were leaving. (I
    wish I could remember my exact words.) Anyway, I received an A in the class and
    I know I deserved a C, but she improved her teaching.

    A little humility and humanity can go a long way.

    Dan
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