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Encouraging Students to Elaborate
Transcript of Encouraging Students to Elaborate
At first glance, this technique seems trivial. Yes, this technique seems easy but it is effective.
According to Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2008)
English Language learners “benefit from a patient approach to classroom participation, in which teachers wait for students to complete their verbal contributions”
. Teachers usually wait one second after asking a question. Even more astonishing, “when a student makes a response, the teacher normally react or asks another question within an average time of 0.9 seconds” (
English language learners sometimes begin to answer the question but pause to think of the right word to use. Most teachers see this as the student being done with their thought. The student is then cut off from speaking and the teacher asks another question or answers the question himself/herself. By providing proper wait time, we are giving the students time to put their thoughts together so that they can have responses that are more elaborate. Another advantage to providing proper wait time is the quality of the response. Since students have more time to think about the question, they will be able to think of better responses.
Like anything else wait time is good in moderation. It is sometimes difficult to tell how much time the students actually need. Some students need more time than others. Students that do no not need as much wait time might get bored and distracted, thus classroom management problems might arise. Another disadvantage of wait time is that the student might feel too pressured. The student might feel the whole class is staring at him/her.
Asking the right questions
Sometimes teachers ask too many basic yes no questions. For example, “is this a parabola?” It should be of no surprise to hear yes/no responses from students. If teachers prepare questions prior to teaching the lesson, students will be encouraged to elaborate on their responses. A better question would be “what type of function is this?” followed by “how do you know?” If teachers take time to think of probing questions, students will be more likely to give more elaborate responses, rather than a simple yes/no answer.
Students will be guided by the questions to elaborate on their answer. By asking well thought of questions, the students cannot just simply answer with a yes or a no. Going back to our previous example, a student would not be able to simply answer yes to “what type of function is this?......how do you know?”Another advantage of asking good probing questions is that the students are guided to what to think about rather than trying to think what exactly the teacher is asking.
Good questions are tougher to think of, this requires the teachers to spend a bit more time planning. Some teachers may think it takes “too” much time but in reality, it will help in the long run. The students will not be confused in the lesson and they will have a chance to think more critically because of the nature of the questions.
Pro: cooperative learning takes the pressure off the students who have anxiety of speaking when all the class is listening. When the students are working in small groups or pairs, they only have to speak to a couple people at a time.
According to Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2008)
“having students talk in pairs or in small groups minimizes the risk [of students feeling nervous] and allows ideas to flow more easily” (p. 145). Another great advantage is students get an opportunity to practice using the English language. According to Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2008) cooperative learning helps the students get a “deeper understanding of the text…oral language development…. Brain stimulation…increased motivation…reduced risk…more processing time… [And] increased attention” (p. 145). Students that are learning English need to practice using it.
In the Interaction video, Vogt (n.d)
states that teachers talk between 70 to 80 percent during a lesson. This only leaves students with very little opportunity to talk. With cooperative learning students can have more opportunities to practice using the English language.
If group activities are not planned properly, they can be detrimental to students learning. Some students might cruise while the more advanced students do all the work. Another issue that might arise is the students not giving each other enough time to elaborate on their responses. More advanced students might interrupt the students that have trouble expressing their ideas aloud.
What are Three Specific Techniques You Can Use to Encourage Students to Elaborate on their Responses and Express their Thoughts Fully?
1. Increase wait time.
2. Ask the right questions.
3. Cooperative learning .
Three Specific Techniques You Can Use to Encourage Students to Elaborate on their Responses and Express their Thoughts Fully
By: Fabian Meraz