‘Hands up’ classroom culture Why not? Too many pupils will choose not to volunteer. Allowing pupils to choose increases the achievement gap between the highest and the lowest achieving pupils. The intelligence of pupils is actually increased by actively taking part in discussion. Why do it? Perceived time constraints. Don’t want to embarrass pupils who don’t know the answer. Helps teacher feel successful. (Subconscious) avoidance of need to address wrong answers and slow the pace.
‘No hands up’ classroom culture - except to ASK a question! Advantages: Increases pupil engagement dramatically: they must listen! Teachers can ensure the participation of all pupils in every lesson. Teachers can better assess the understanding and progress of all pupils. Pupils learn better when they vocalise answers and ideas for themselves. Disadvantages: Eye contact clues: develop strategies to avoid this. Teachers subconsciously choose the strongest pupils who will give the correct answer. Teachers tend to ask low-level questions which do little to move learning forward or promote thinking.
‘Randomising’ questions What if they can’t answer? Lollypop stick goes back in the bag so they can answer another question ‘Tag’ or ‘Phone’ a friend. Ask the audience. Ideas: Numbered lollypop sticks (numbers either on desks or books). Throw an object (e.g. dice) and whoever catches, answers. Pass the bomb – different lengths of time – if it ‘explodes’, they answer.
When teachers pause after asking a question, more pupils participate in class discussion, answers are longer and of higher quality. Wait time 1: the teacher asks a question and pauses before hearing an answer. Wait time 2: the teacher hears the answer and pauses again. Wait time: a minimum of 3 to 5 seconds.
Wait time is not wasted time, so why doesn’t it happen? Quick-fire question/answer sessions make us feel like we’re achieving great pace. Silence can be uncomfortable. Impatience (teacher and some pupils) The teacher may not realise he/she isn’t giving wait time. ‘Wait time 2’ may not happen because many teachers immediately provide the answer themselves if the first answer given is incomplete or incorrect, rather than probing further or inviting other pupils to contribute more information or comment on the answer already given.
What do you do if the pupil you ask gives an answer which is incomplete or incorrect? When you ask a question, do you have the ‘right answer’ ready in your head?
Good questions are hard to generate. Teachers plan the content of their lessons. Could a lesson plan instead consist of a sequence of well- planned questions?
Different types of questions: Abstract or concrete (i.e. is there a ‘right’ answer?) Leading or open to interpretation Open or closed Questions for clarification Challenging questions (evaluative, creative, comparison) Serial questions (that get progressively more challenging and/or encourage a variety of thinking skills)
Matching Blooms to the English Bands
Resources to choose from Planning Questions – ideas: Bookmarks for teacher’s planners Fan (for use with planning or in lessons) Pack of cards Planning methods of response – for planning/student use: Spinner Cards We’ve created a pack for Sandra to use for each resource – if you would like one, place your order.
Establishing curiosity as the norm – THIS WILL HELP BUILD EFFECTIVE SIXTH FORMERS! Questioner of the day/week – house-point/reward card Cash for questions – whole class – list questions and then they can ‘buy’ questions from other students if it will help them get the answer. ‘Bounce’ the question/response around the class to improve the question/explain/offer the alternative Response cards – agree/disagree/it’s a poor question Question tokens – each student has two question tokens/cards that they MUST use by the end of the lesson. (Extension?) Guess the marks – given five exam/test questions and rank the questions according to Bloom’s taxonomy or higher vs lower order questions. PARENT-LED – ‘What questions did you ask today?’