Notes from Every Minute Counts Part 1

May 5, 2005


  1. By the end of the class period I will be able to identify the students who are able to meet the objectives.
  2. I will give no options for nonparticipation.
  3. I will allow students to make mistakes without fear of failure or embarrassment.
  4. I will encourage student interaction during a portion of each class period.
  5. I will explain how one assignment is related to the next.
  6. I will allow time for the students to practice each new concept before the end of the period.
  7. I will try to build student confidence and motivate the students to complete homework outside of class.
  8. I will devise techniques that will give me daily feedback on my success in teaching the students each concept.

The Art of Questioning – a “try-to” list

  1. Try to pause after asking a question.
  2. Try to avoid frequent questions which require only a yes or no answer.
  3. Try to avoid answering my own questions.
  4. Try to follow up student responses with the question “why?”
  5. Try to limit the use of questions which rely almost completely on memory.
  6. Try to avoid directing a question to a student for disciplinary reasons.
  7. Try to avoid repeating a student’s answer.
  8. Try to follow up a student’s response by fielding it to the class or to another student for a reaction.
  9. Try to insist on attentiveness during question periods.
  10. Try to avoid giveaway facial expressions to student responses.
  11. Try to make it easy for students to ask a question at any time.
  12. Try to avoid asking questions that contain the answer.
  13. Try never to call on a particular student before asking the question. Also, try to avoid calling on a particular student immediately after asking a question.
  14. Try to ask questions that are open-ended.
  15. Try not to label the degree of difficulty of a question.
  16. Try to leave an occasional question unanswered at the end of the period.
  17. Try to replace lectures with a set of appropriate questions.
  18. Try to avoid asking for verbal group responses.
  19. Try to keep the students actively involved in the learning process.

Getting better student responses:
Students have pencil and scratch paper in front of them at all times. Then as I begin questioning I might say, for example, “On your paper, write the factors of 24.” Pause! “Show me what you have written.” I then circle around the room to spot-check answers. This gives me much more information than I would get by asking one student to respond to my question.

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