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Will Someone Answer My Question?

Why are student's afraid to answer a teacher's question in class?

They are afraid of looking stupid or of being embarrassed in front of others. What if their answer is wrong? How will they feel? A person has to be pretty confident to answer a teacher’s question because if they are wrong, it doesn’t feel good. At best, a teacher will ask an open-ended, thought question so that many answers can be “right.”

If a teacher asks a question with a specific correct answer and the student is unsure if they are correct, then most won’t take the risk of being wrong.

One solution for this that I’ve used successfully in the classroom is to ask a question of a table team. I then give the team a short amount of time to discuss their response before they answer. In this way, if they are wrong, they feel better about it because it was a team decision.

It also helps if the instructor gives students encouragement for their answer and makes it clear that making a mistake is a learning opportunity.

Final Thought: Reduce student stress of answering a question by calling on a table team instead of an individual.

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