Teaching Tip #6 – Right Answers

Previously, a teaching strategy was given on how to respond when a student provides a wrong answer. But what do you do when students provide right answers?

There are many strategies that focus around the same core idea – ask targeted, rigorous questions that require your student to further explain their answer, or think at a deeper level about their answer.

In Doug Lemov’s book Teach Like a Champion, he explains this strategy as “Stretch It.” In short, you want to stretch the student’s thinking beyond just a “right answer.” Otherwise, copy-cat answers may become a strategy students use, and this does not require content learning from the student. A dialogue might look like this:

Teacher: If tipping at 15% how much would a $10 meal cost?

Student: $11.50!

Teacher: How did you get that?

Student: Well, 15 percent of 10 is $1.50, so I added that to the bill and got my answer.

Teacher: How could you solve the same problem for a $22 meal?

Student: Well, I could first find 15 percent of 20, then find 15 percent of 2, and add both numbers to the bill.

Despite the simple nature of this strategy, there are two reasons why it is important to respond effectively in this situation. First using this strategy allows you to check for true understanding from the student. Second, if the student does have a true understanding of the question, it allows you to challenge the student to apply their knowledge at a deeper level of understanding.

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