Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Involving All Students

Here are some ways to help ensure that all students are included in oral practice.

Many teachers tend to focus on one particular section of the classroom, without realizing it. Is it the area where the “good” students sit, or the front of the class, or the table by the window? Recognizing this tendency will help you adjust your focus and spread your attention more generally around the class.

Use the class list and call on every second or third student as you work your way down the list. Keep the list where you can refer to it easily.

To prevent students from “turning off” once they’ve responded to a question, ask several of them for a second answer later in the sequence. Ask the question first, pause, and then say a student’s name, instead of saying the name first. This way, everyone must listen to the question, in case they’ll be called on to answer it.

Look at the class as a set of lines or rows or groupings and address a question to a person from each row, line, or group.

If you have a few students who tend to shout out answers before anyone else has a chance to respond, make a rule that when a student has responded once, he or she must miss the next three chances before answering again.

After you ask the first question, invite the student who answers to name the student who will answer the next one.

If the student you ask is unable to respond, try repeating the question again. When it’s clear that the student isn’t able to respond, ask another student if he or she knows. If that student isn’t able to respond, open the question up to the group. Avoid asking, “Can anyone help Jamal?”

How do you help students participate in class? Share your ideas in a comment.

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