The photo above was taken using a technique called previsualisation. This means is that I knew what I wanted the finished image to look like before I pressed the shutter button. As it was made on slide film, I had to get it right in camera – there were no darkroom tricks that could be used to save the photo if I made a mistake. If I had simply released the shutter without first deciding how I wanted the final image to look then the shot would have looked very different and It would have had far less impact. I had to intentionally underexpose the image and use a couple of other tricks to get it as I wanted then – BANG – the shot was made.
A similar process is necessary in teaching. Before starting on an activity, a lesson or a series of lessons it is vital to know what you what the process will be; you need to know what success will look like. A colleague was struggling with this recently and he said that he could see a series of snapshots rather than being able to play the video in his head before he taught a lesson. The video is the plan for the journey to the destination. If you can see the video playing in your head before starting the sequence then you are previsualising your teaching. You will be able to select the correct pedagogical tools and apply them at the right places along the journey to enable your learners to progress. Without the previsualised journey it may be that at some points in the learning sequence the correct pedagogical tools are not to hand.
Slides were great but unforgiving and certainly, a print could never match the colour saturation and intensity of a projected slide. But there was a downside, once the slide was shot there was nothing you could do to improve it; you had to get it right in camera. It is the same with teaching. It is a live performance and a second take is impossible; you have to get it right first time. If the complete learning journey is previsualised in the teacher’s head before it begins then there is likely to be a greater intensity, involvement and pace in that learning journey – and you will get to see what success looks like.