Teachers' responses to children's eye gaze

Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon, Fiona Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


When asked questions, children often avert their gaze. Furthermore, the frequency of such gaze aversion (GA) is related to the difficulty of cognitive processing, suggesting that GA is a good indicator of children's thinking and comprehension. However, little is known about how teachers detect and interpret such gaze signals. In Study 1 teaching interactions were analysed to determine teachers' responses to different patterns of children's eye gaze. In Study 2 a different group of teachers completed a questionnaire assessing their awareness of GA in determining children's thinking, understanding, and interest. Results showed that teachers did not typically respond to children's GA in predicted ways and did not associate GA with children's thinking. However, when asked explicitly about GA cues they made predictions relating to question difficulty and children's thinking in line with empirical work. We conclude that while teachers have an implicit understanding of GA cues, they typically do not make full use of such cues during classroom teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-109
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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