Friday, April 20, 2012

Advance Warning: How to Increase Classroom Participation

Student Achievement Best Practices Webinar

By Rick Smith, Conscious Teaching

Save your seat today for Conscious Teaching's free Webinar on Wednesday, April 25th!

Student achievement best practices provide students with direction and clarity.
We’re going to be sharing dozens of strategies in our free Webinar on Wednesday, April 25th,. Including seven strategies for increasing participation.  One of these strategies appears below.

Advance Warning:

Imagine you have a reluctant participant named “Sally.”  If you call on Sally in class, she may likely feel humiliated.  If you don’t call on her, she will most likely fall through the cracks.  What to do?  One strategy is “Advance Warning.”

How it Works: Give Sally some advance warning that you are going to call on her to share a response. There are many variations of this strategy. Here are three.

•    Several minutes warning- Catch Sally entering class (at the beginning of the period or after recess) and tell her you will be calling on her to share answer number #5 from last night’s homework. Even if she didn’t complete last night’s homework she has several minutes to work it out before you get there in the review.

•    One day’s warning- As class ends, let Sally know that you’ll be calling on her the next day to answer question number five.  She now has 23 hours to prepare!  Some teachers get concerned that if they do this, Sally won’t show up to class the next day.  In that case, when you give her the advanced notice, let her know that the next day, when class begins, if she doesn’t want to answer the question, she can let you know, either by telling you privately or by a private hand signal from her desk (five fingers spread wide and flat, for example). 

    Variation:  let Sally know that tomorrow you will be calling on three students, including her, to share what they thought was most important, interesting, or memorable about the content in today’s class. To reduce any potential anxiety she might feel, let her know that she doesn’t have to write it down, it won’t be graded, there is no wrong answer, and she can share her response privately with you if she isn’t feeling comfortable sharing out to the class the next day.

Why it Works: This strategy gives Sally some time to emotionally and physically prepare to share out, which in turn lowers her anxiety and puts you on the same side.

Tip from the Trenches:  Don’t use this strategy with just Sally and other reluctant students. The rest of the class will notice and Sally will feel singled out. But make sure you include Sally regularly in strategies like this so she remains safely “on the hook” for paying attention and participating.

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