The following outlines some typical student response types and some possible ways to reply or restate questions to elicit a different answer or reaction.
- The question may have been too complex.
- The classroom may not have been considered a 'safe place' for students to respond.
- The question may have been mis-heard or not heard at all.
- Stop this particular line of questioning or the activity (particularly if it is not safe to continue).
- Save face for the student (e.g. "Perhaps I worded the question in a confusing way; let me rephrase it." Then allow the student to think and/or share with a partner).
- The question may have been too complex or too long for students to respond
- Question may have been too open-ended
- Check for understanding by restating the part still not answered correctly.
- Acknowledge the parts of the question that were correct.
- Highlight the correct part, repeat question and ask for additional information relating to that part.
- Student may be embarrassed to answer truthfully in front of others.
- Student may be attention seeking.
- Don't react or overreact to the response.
- Don't put-down the student for their response but rather diffuse the situation by a non-response.
- Re-state the answer in a positive, 'non-silly' manner to model appropriate responses.
- Could be considered as a ‘no response'.
- Allow for a ‘pass' answer at times.
- Allow time for student to discuss in a group first.
- Follow up later in a one-to-one situation where understanding can be checked.
- Possible that the question was misunderstood.
- The complexity of the question may have been too confusing or high-level for students.
- Multiple components can often confuse so break down the question into simpler, smaller contexts or parts.
- Restate the question in a different way.
- This may be exactly that; a correct response.
- However, If the question was too easy and a quick correct response is given in a disengaged way it might be necessary to check for understanding through rephrasing and asking a question in a different way.
- Respond with a simple ‘thank you'.
- Positive reinforcement.