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  #1  
Old 01-16-2013, 09:31 AM
mlf84743 mlf84743 is offline
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Lazy Answers Help!

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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  #2  
Old 01-16-2013, 09:41 AM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is online now
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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).
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:51 AM
a2z a2z is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caesar753 View Post
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).
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.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2013, 10:59 AM
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HeartDrama HeartDrama is offline
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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.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:20 PM
Ms.SLS Ms.SLS is offline
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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.
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:24 PM
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BumbleB BumbleB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caesar753 View Post
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).
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.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2013, 04:12 PM
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dgpiaffeteach dgpiaffeteach is offline
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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.
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  #8  
Old 01-17-2013, 07:54 PM
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TeachingHistory TeachingHistory is offline
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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.
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2013, 08:50 PM
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ku_alum ku_alum is offline
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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!
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  #10  
Old 01-22-2013, 01:22 PM
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Furthuron Furthuron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ku_alum View Post
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!
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.
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