• No Opt Out 

    In a high-performing classroom, a verbalized or unspoken “I don’t know” is cause for action. When

    a student begins by being unable or unwilling to answer, you should strive to make the sequence end

    as often as possible with the student giving a right or valid answer. Choose among four basic formats

    to respond:

    Format 1. You provide the answer; your student repeats the answer.

    Format 2. Another student provides the answer; the initial student repeats the answer.

    Format 3. You provide a cue; your student uses it to find the answer.

    Format 4. Another student provides a cue; the initial student uses it to find the answer.

    This is surely among the most helpful and efficient techniques for raising classroom expectations,

    especially if:

       • Students tend to duck away from questions rather than answer them.

       • Students don’t hear themselves getting answers right.

       • The class lacks a culture of accountability and incentive for each individual.

    Take the rigor of your interaction up a notch by wrapping up the sequence with a request for

    another correct answer or an explanation of the “why.”


      What to Say Instead of I Don’t Know

    ·       May I please have some more information?

    ·       May I have some time to think?

    ·       May I ask a Friend?

    ·       Would you please repeat the question?

    ·       Where could I find information about that?