Asking students to do something again, better, can be a powerful way to help them grasp and act upon their teacher’s high expectations. As this video of Dani Quinn (‘10 ambassador) shows, it can also be an effective way to reinforce their understanding and use of key terms in the subject.
- By calling on peers for help while also giving the first student three chances to provide an excellent answer, Dani manages to balance the need to involve all students in the lesson with the desire to allow individuals to refine their ideas to high standards.
- The pace is fast, but a strong classroom culture ensures that the student involved has the time and space to rethink his answer uninterrupted. (Students’ immediate response to Dani’s request at the beginning of the video, when moving from paired to whole-class discussion is also noticeable).
- Dani moves to face the student whose name has turned up in her lollipop sticks: by doing so, she both emphasises where the class’s focus should lie and manages to face him while retaining sight of the rest of the room.
This clip demonstrates a way to obtain a well-explained answer, underline the importance of correct mathematical terminology and send a powerful message about excellence through the simple act of returning to the first speaker and asking him to repeat his answer. For teachers, establishing the quality of answer or action they hope to see while planning a lesson and deciding to invite students to do it again until they reach that standard, may help them show students the successes of which they are capable.