How should teachers acknowledge responses to students?
I strongly suggest that you investigate the
theory behind the concept of REINFORCEMENT. --
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT is the ONLY way to
increase the chances that a behavior (desirable or undesirable) occurs
again. That is exactly what "LEARNING" is: a behavior that was not
present in a student before, now occurs repeatedly because that behavior
"has been learned." The only way that "learning" happens is when a behavior
(desirable or undesirable) is positively reinforced immediately after it
happens. If the reinforcement continues, at first massively or AFTER EVERY
RESPONSE, and then intermittently or RANDOMLY AFTER SOME RESPONSES, the
behavior is "learned" literally forever. That is, the behavior will occur
and re-occur time and time again.
So, teachers MUST acknowledge every
DESIRABLE student response with something positive. You MUST be willing,
as a teacher, to constantly praise --sincerely and adequately-- every single
desirable student response. If you do NOT acknowledge every student
response, then there will be very little learning --or worse, classmates
will take over the task of acknowledging other classmates' responses which
you, as the teacher, probably do not desire.
How do you respond to incorrect responses?
have two choices:
FIRST -- SIMPLY IGNORE the incorrect
response. Just move on, call on another student. OR
SECOND -- rephrase your question so that
YOU ELICIT the correct response FROM EVERY STUDENT, and then YOU CAN
positively reinforce the correct student response.
IT IS IMPERATIVE that, as a teacher, you
understand that students MUST respond correctly or in a desirable fashion
and that IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT job of a teacher to INSURE that every
student responds correctly or in a desirable fashion. How? Rephrase the
question -- IT IS THE QUESTION that is wrong, NOT the student!!!
If you ask --
1. --- WHAT DAY IS TODAY?
and you get the wrong answer, you may call
on another student, ignoring the wrong response.
THEN --- ALWAYS GO BACK to the student who
did not answer correctly and rephrase your questions:
2. --- TODAY is __________(whichever day it
is today)________, right?
Positively Reinforce student if s(he) nods
Ask again --
3. --- So, what day is today, (give choices
with CORRECT choice last), is it __________, or ___________, or
_____(whichever day it is today) __________ ?
Positively Reinforce student if s(he) gives
(The number of choices does NOT matter,
any number from 2 to 7 is fine)
Ask again --
4. --- So, what day is today, (give choices
with CORRECT choice any place except LAST). is it __________, or
_____(whichever day is today)___________, or _______________, or
Positively Reinforce student if s(he)
gives correct answer.
(The number of choices does NOT matter, any
number from 2 to 7 is fine)
Finally ask --
5. --- So, WHAT DAY IS TODAY?
Positively Reinforce student for the RIGHT
do you respond to correct responses?
Please, CELEBRATE, congratulate, admire,
get excited about the CORRECT response or behavior!!!!! Those moments are
the true JOY of teaching!!!!!!!!
do you respond to responses with silence and "i dont know" responses?
Then, do as I showed you above in Question
Number 2 --
For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and
"coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK
- Training VIDEOS on the following topic:
1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading
- Training programs relating to E.S.L. instruction:
Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5,
7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for Paraprofessionals:
Web Site Programs for New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)
- Question-&-Answer Technical Assistance Service:
Write and e-mail any additional questions you
may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a
Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your
questions promptly and to your satisfaction.
For information and credentials please click on the link below or
CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.
Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator
National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards, Certification (12/2006)
3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406
Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605