Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tip 29 Equitable Distribution of Questions

Summary: Interacting with all students. Encouraging diversity enrollment.

Do you ask questions that can be answered? Who do you choose when you ask questions over a topic?

In my class, I put the names of students in a hat. I ask a question then randomly select a name of the hat. (The hat I use if from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank compliments of Tim Schilling.)

After I select a name, I give wait time of five seconds for the student to answer. If the student has problems answering the question, I prompt.

I have found that I have a tendency to ask questions to students that I know will answer correctly. Asking questions in this manner communicates my expectations to the other students. The effect of asking questions in this manner is that only a few become involved in the class. But if I ask questions to random students, they all are accountable for the content.

Another benefit I have learned from asking random students questions is that I ask the high achieving students and the low achieving students the same question. I don't ask those students struggling with the content, "easy" questions. Again, I don't communicate my perception of a student by the type of question I ask.

If you have equity concerns, you will find that providing equal opportunity to contribute to the class will encourage minority students to take your AP Microeconomics or AP Macroeconomics classes.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He blogs at Mikeroeconomics.


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