Lazy Answers Help!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by mlf84743, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. mlf84743

    mlf84743 New Member

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I am a substitute teacher embarking on a 6 week adventure teaching 7th grade social studies for a teacher on medical leave.
    One thing that I hadn't been able to master as a student teacher was when you call on a student and they say "I don't know." If they really don't know, I don't want to pressure them to answer. But sometimes they just say that because they are lazy, and I can't stand it! I tried participation notecards, but it just took too much time in and out of class.
    When I was in highschool, my most admired teacher was the teacher that called on you when you weren't paying attention, thus, you tried very hard to pay attention to avoid being called on. I think this was very effective and motivating to participate. I have not had this experience. I really want a student to answer quickly and be able to move on to the next question or point. Advice???
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Whenever I get the "I don't know" answer, I usually say, "Well, let's figure it out. Tell me what you know about...." and then I lead them through finding the answer. It works well in my class and it doesn't let anyone off the hook. Students usually know more than they pretend to. Some students are so afraid of being wrong that they're not willing to even take a chance. With the method I use, it gives students a chance to find their way to a successful answer with a sort of safety net (me).
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Great response. Handle the behavior, not the motivation.

    There are many reasons a student will not answer when called on, even if they know the answer.

    I suggest being very careful about labeling a student as lazy because they aren't producing the way you want them to. It could be fear or being wrong as Caesar said. It could be that the student has experienced the wrath of other that are in that class and will get picked on later for being a "know it all". This student would rather play dumb than actually deal with their peer group. Some struggle with rapid recall and really don't know at the moment they are put on the spot even though if given time or asked when they aren't on the spot they actually do know the information. Some hate speaking in front of others and will do anything to avoid it unless they are 100% sure they are right. As you can see, most of this is not laziness as you have labeled it, but it is other internal motivation or weak areas of processing that will result in the same work production, "I don't know."

    Always be careful about labeling a student with a negative label. While you may be accurate sometimes, you may end up doing more damage to those that don't really fit your negative connotation. By feeling this, it gets imparted in your non-verbal language and tone of voice. That in turn hurts any opportunity to build the relationship or strategy with the student that isn't really being lazy.
     
  5. HeartDrama

    HeartDrama Connoisseur

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I agree. I ask leading questions to get them to the correct answer. I'll also allow them to use their notes or textbook as a guide. If they still can't get it and I know they don't have anyway of figuring it out on their own by using other materials, I'll ask another student to help.
     
  6. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Jan 16, 2013

    If we are sharing answers from independent/group work activities, I'll go around the room as they work and ask different students to share different answers (ie. Suzie, when we share out, will you please share answer number 3?). I have a pretty high success rate with this because they have time to make sure their answers are "good enough" to share, and so, are more willing to participate.
     
  7. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Yep, this is what I do. Or I'll say, "Let's have so-and-so help you out". I'll call on a more alert student to answer part of the question, and then return to the original student to have them wrap up the answer.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I lead them to the answer. It works fairly well. Sometimes with harder works we have to "phone a friend", but that's okay too.

    However, I wouldn't make a kid who's not paying attention, answer the question. I simply ask them quietly (standing near them) to please pay closer attention. It works and doesn't risk embarrassing them, which could make them resentful.
     
  9. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Comrade

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    Jan 17, 2013

    I lead them to the answer too. Or I tell them where to find it. If for whatever reason that doesn't work out and we have to "phone a friend" I'll make the original student (along with several others) give me back the correct answer. Especially if its something important.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jan 17, 2013

    I think I learned it here ... I say, "if you thought you knew, what would you say?"

    In some weird way, it works like a charm!
     
  11. Furthuron

    Furthuron Companion

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    Jan 22, 2013

    I love that idea!

    When I was student teaching, my CT used to say to the class, "Help her/him out" and pick students with their hands up. I know Teach Like a Champion has the "no opt out" where you then make the student re-state the answer after another student has said it. However, I know that would have embarrassed me so much as a kid if I didn't know the answer!

    Sometimes you just have to throw softballs until you know the kids.
     
  12. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Jan 22, 2013

    I read this too, and have tried it. Major fail.

    I'll usually try to lead the student to the answer through questioning. If that doesn't work, I ask, "Can anyone help him/her out?"
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2013

    I've seen this here a few times and I have to say that I think it seems bizarre. If someone asked me this question in response to me telling them that I didn't know the answer, I would look at them like they were nuts.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Jan 23, 2013


    I agree. I wouldn't be able to control my non-verbal reaction to that question. I would probably verbally respond with, "So, if you wanted me to guess you should have just said so." This would help to save face letting the class know whatever I say I know is wrong. Then my answer would probably be rather off the wall.

    I can almost see this working with very young kids that are trying to create a false story for teacher. It would be enough to trip up their thought process under pressure. I also think this is the context for which "If you thought you knew, what would your answer be".
     

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