How to choose students for things

Option one: random selection.  This is my favourite method.  It’s number three on this list.  Advantages:  it’s fair, it’s quick, everyone contributes, it keeps students on their toes.  Disadvantages: student might steal the lollipop stick with their name on it.

Option two: self-selection.  Students choose other students to respond to questions.  E.g., ‘Muhammed, choose a girl on the front row to read the board/answer this/do that’.  Use a ball as well (number six on this list).  Advantage: kids sometimes quite like having the power to choose.  If you’re really thinking, you can also get to know the friendship groups in the class. Disadvantage: can slow things down if you’re looking for a pacey lesson.

Option three: teacher selection.  You choose a student.  In theory this is good, because you can choose smart students for hard questions, i.e., differentiate.  I don’t like it, I prefer option one.  I think you always choose the same people and it’s less exciting than lollipop sticks.  But I think this is what most teachers do most of the time.

Option four: put your hands up.  I don’t like this method unless it’s to do with giving stuff out in the classroom.  The disadvantage is obvious: the same students always contribute.  Most of the class stare vacantly. (Phil Beadle has said you should never do class discussion for this reason, in this book).


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