(This posting includes an attachment teacher’s script which you are welcome to use.)
As mentioned in the previous two previous posting about the first two techniques, whole-class discussions can be an alien concept to some students. When trying to conduct a discussion with the whole class, it’s not unusual for the teacher to call on a student to answer but the student for some reason is unable to answer in a timely manner. It could be because he doesn’t know what to say, or how to formulate the answer in English, or isn’t confident in his oral skills. This can result in some awkward moments as the student is clearly experiencing stress and/or embarrassment, and the teacher doesn’t know whether to give him more time to answer, to ask some leading questions or to just move on to a different student. Meanwhile, the rest of the class might begin to become restless.
This technique is a kind of “escape” for students in that kind of situation. If, for some reason, they can’t answer within a reasonable amount of time, they can use one of these expressions:
- That’s a good question. I’d like to think about it first. Perhaps (a classmate’s name) could answer it.
- I’m not sure, but (classmate’s name), what do you think?
- I have no idea. How about you, (classmate’s name)?
When students use this technique, it can actually turn into a humorous situation. Almost any time a student has used one of these expression, it has elicited a lot of friendly laughter by the classmates and teacher. The classroom tension is immediately released.
To help your students become comfortable with this technique, you can use the handout and attached script, which I’ll explain about below.