Thursday, August 21, 2014

Please Don’t Call on Me!

hidingIn The Art of Cold Calling: Blogiversary Post #7  from Classroom as Microcosm, Siobhan Curious  asks,

“Do you cold-call in your classroom?  If so, how do you make students fell okay with that?  If not, why not?  Does cold-calling improve the classroom dynamic, or is it a detriment?  I want my students to rise to the demands cold-calling creates, but I don’t want to poison their learning with terror.”

I was one of the students who sat in terror when I was called on. I even felt anxious at the thought of being called on. Even though I knew the material, I would freeze at the thought of being called on! I remember sitting in desks behind a person that was bigger than me just so I could easily hide behind them. This didn’t mean that I didn’t do my homework every night but I just could not face talking out loud in class. Being ridiculed and forced to do so did not improve my education in any form.

No, I don’t believe in cold calling in my classroom. The main reason that I would do this would be to check for understanding or to make sure that the student is doing their homework. Yet, I don’t believe that by doing this, I am achieving my goal. I know from experience that just because students don’t answer a question, doesn’t mean that they don’t know the material. By pushing students to do so may end up with disastrous results and cause them to hate learning.

I believe that there are other ways to check for understanding or to find out if the student has done their homework. Teachers need to be creative and look at the strengths of the student. Have the students use their strengths to show their understanding. If needed, have the students give input on how the can show their understanding. They might actually come up with good ideas that you haven’t thought about.

If I do have to do some cold-calling, then I establish some ground rules. No answer is laughed at or ridiculed. We encourage and support our friends who need extra help coming up with the correct answer. I see answering cold calling questions more in the sense of brain storming. If the answer is wrong, then we need to reason out why the answer is wrong so the person will have a better understanding how to come up with the correct answer.

How do you feel about cold calling? Do you do it? Why or why not?

Image: 'Simon the cat playing in pajamas'
Found on

No comments: