Getting an unexpected answer; what to do.

I saw part of a great lesson this week; one of many.

For me though, what made this great, was the teachers questioning.

The students were working independently when I arrived and were all engaged in the task.  They were then asked to watch a video clip and the teacher then asked what was happening?  The hands shot up, an easy question.  The teacher canvased opinion from two students, they had obviously taken in the visual.  Good, I thought.

Next, the teacher asked what the students thought would happen next.  Good, I thought again, we’re moving up Blooms; describe to predict.  What came next, however, threw me.  There were lots of volunteers (demonstrating a good attitude to learning), but then again it was still an easy question, given the source material.  But the answer was not what I, or the teacher, was expecting!

What would you do? Mmm, I thought.  What now?  I would guess that nine times out of ten teachers would politely accept the answer but seek another opinion.  I probably would, certainly under the pressure of a peer watching me.  Oh no, they don’t get it!  What now?  I must be useless at explaining?  Have I chosen the wrong source?  Is this class really that bad? Quick, find someone who knows and can demonstrate how great I actually am…..we’ve all been there.

The next question was the killer…’who else thinks that?’  Bingo, AfL.  When it comes to lesson pace, this was a lesson in pace. Can / should you move on when you may have problem? No, assess the extent to the problem.  There were no hands.  Teacher probably thinking – how on earth did I find the one person who didn’t get it? I’m thinking, well done! Next question, okay x tell me what you think?  Great use of a direct question: nowhere to hide in this class!  The answer was correct (or, at least, what the teacher and I expected).  Then the bit that made it truly great – can you explain to y why you think that?



Chris Vizzard

Posted in Assessment and Questioning

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