Students confuse students

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Genmai, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Feb 15, 2010

    Hey Gang,

    I've been sent to other classrooms at my school and other schools to observe several experienced teachers. When a student responds to a question with a confusing answer, I've witnessed the teacher berate the student for 'confusing' other students. I've seen this a few times. In my class, I get a LOT of bad answers that only confuse the other kids. I need to know how to address confusing math responses in the appropriate fashion.

    :help:
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2010

    That's just bad teaching.

    How are you hoping to resolve it-- are you department chair? In what capacity have you observed it?
     
  4. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Feb 15, 2010

    Because I need help, the admins have sent me to 'observe' experienced / veteran teachers teach at my school and at other schools. I'm in no position to provide an official evaluation fyi.

    I need to know the best way to handle very confusing answers in my classroom. With math, it is easy to get confused if the kids are sidetracked too much imo. My first impulse is that I'm teaching the material wrong and need to reteach.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2010

    Sorry, I misunderstood.

    My guess is that you caught them at a bad time, and that they were nervous about being observed-- a surprising number of experienced teachers are.

    Anyway, to answer your question:

    It's actually 2 issues: how do you un-confuse the kid who answered, and how do you keep the other kids from getting futher confused.

    I tend to handle things like that with humor.

    If I have no idea what the answer actually means, I'll ask the kids to re-phrase it. If that doesn't help, I'll ask if anyone in the class DOES understand and wants to help me understand the question.

    If the kid is totally out in left field, sometimes I'll respond with: "Nice try, but everyone please forget you heard that! It's not what I was going for at all!!! What I really meant to ask was..."


    Does that help at all??
     
  6. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Feb 15, 2010

    I teach younger kids, but... When I get an incorrect answer, I sometimes ask the student to explain how they got that answer. My goal is to uncover the misconception (or sometimes simple error). Most of the time, more than one student will share the misconception - or when the simple error is uncovered, correct thinking is sometimes discovered.

    I use the mini-whiteboards a lot. Everyone holds up his or her answer. I say, "I see a lot of 7s, and a 3. Who would like to show how his or her thinking is correct?" This gives a 7 a chance to teach the 3, or the 3 a chance to share his or her thinking and uncover where s/he went wrong.

    The idea that the student, by getting something wrong, confused the class seems to imply that the student was supposed to be teaching. I don't like it.
     
  7. ecl

    ecl Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2010

    First, I think it is very important to clarify for the class that the answer is not correct. Too often I have seen teachers probe students to see how they came up with the misconception, but never inform the class that it is wrong. As you can imagine, this only leads to more confusion.

    I have already established a class culture of support for mistakes, and students know that in my class making a mistake means you are about to learn something, which is why we all come to school. So mistakes are a good thing. This is something I emphasize since day 1, and I work hard to build a culture of inquiry and helpfulness to others.

    I also use whiteboards and sometimes will have those with correct answers go over to those without and explain how they came to their answer. Then we will have a class discussion. Or we discuss it whole group, with those making errors explaining their reasoning.

    Confusion in math is a good thing when clarification leads to learning.
     

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