The first post was all about making sure you maintain high standards in your class by not allowing the answer, “I don’t know” in your class.
So we move on to the next powerful teaching strategy used by Master Teachers. It’s called ‘Right is Right’.
You’ll have to become a bit anal when using this strategy. This is because you will be raising and defending a high standard of CORRECTNESS in your classroom.
Say the following statements twenty times every day until it becomes a part of your system:
- I will not affirm almost-correct answers in my class.
- I will maintain a high standard of correctness in my class. In fact, 100% correctness.
What this basically means is that students will answer your questions accurately and completely. Not 90% correct, but 100%.
This also means they should answer your question, not give an answer related to it, but an answer that directly answers it.
Teacher: Can you someone give the definition of volume?
Student: The volume is equal to L x W x H
Teacher: That’s the formula. I’m asking for the definition.
In many cases, teachers would praise the answer of the student even though they did not answer the question directly.
Technique #2, Right is Right, compels students to answer questions directly and accurately. It teaches them to give complete answers and to answer directly a question.
So how do you apply this strategy in your class? Doug Lemov offers 4 ways of doing so.
- Hold out for all the way. Praise your student for the effort but don’t confuse that effort with mastery. You can say, “That’s almost correct, but there is something missing. What is it?” Make sure you are always positive when encouraging your students to give the complete answer.
- Insist on making them answer the question. If you asked for a definition, and your student gave an example, then gently tell them that you are looking for a definition, not an example.
- Do not accept answers out of sequence. If you are walking through the class with a step by step problem solving method, and one of your student goes ahead and gives an answer out of sequence, you’ll have to quench that enthusiasm a bit and redirect it back to the correct sequence.
- Train your students to be comfortable with using technical vocabulary. Model the use of technical vocabulary and require them to use it in class.
So there, technique #2 of Master Teachers: Right is Right.
Do you use this technique already in class? Share your experiences of using this strategy in the comments below.
If not, apply it soon and tell us your experience with it
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