“Pick me…!! Pick me!!”

10 Feb

How many classes have you sat in and impulsively shouted out the answer to a question asked by the teacher?!

Were you told off for shouting out?!

Or, was it drilled into you to only give your answer when asked to do so by the teacher?!

A study by Durham University on 12,000 pupils in England concluded that children who impulsively “blurted out” their answers performed better in Maths and English tests than their peers who didn’t have the urge to shout out… Some children were 9 months ahead of their peers!!

Gender differences were evaluated and despite finding both sexes benefit from shouting out, it was mainly boys that shouted out.


Prof Peter Tymms

“What’s a disadvantage to some might be an advantage to others”


From this quote, it makes me think how each child is different and that lessons should be suitable for the needs of all the students in the class. So, perhaps sometimes children should be allowed to shout out and other times they should be made to wait until asked to speak.

Thinking is a very complicated process. Being introduced into my secondary school is a concept called “wait-time” and “think-time”. This has also been found to have beneficial results and can explain why sometimes children are refrained from shouting out. “Wait-time” was first termed by Mary Budd Rowe (1972). This is a period of silence between the question being asked and the students answering. Mary Budd Rowe’s studies showed that when the silence gap exceeded 3 seconds, there were positive consequences for both the behaviour and attitude of the students and teachers.

In 1985, Stahl introduced the concept of “think-time”. This was preferred to “wait-time” as it specified its primary academic purpose. Think-time if defined as an amount of uninterrupted time, complete silence for the teacher and student, where everyone can complete information-processing tasks efficiently.  When think-time is applied appropriately, it can have a significant effect on the teaching and learning occurring in the classroom.

What are your thoughts? Did you find people shouting out distracting?! Or were you the shouter?



7 Responses to ““Pick me…!! Pick me!!””

  1. elburns February 13, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    I like the idea that shouting out in class and getting children to be verbal and not stifling the theory of ‘just have a go’ (following the foundation phase ideology). However I do believe that shouting out loud in class does show the children that know the information already and may hinder the children that do not know or do not understand.
    If children do not know they won’t put there hand up and may not ask. If a teacher picks are specific child they are then able to gauge how well each child is engaging in the activity or the learning.
    I believe a way to overcome this would be for example to use personal mini-whiteboards. This I believe allows students to engage in the classroom gives them ‘think-time’. They also allow teachers to ask different kind of questions. It allows for open thinking and students to think abstractly.
    I believe it also takes away the social anxiety aspect away from putting your hand up and making sure your heard.
    More importantly the teacher can get instant feedback to see if their students are understanding what they have just taught and not the select few that volunteer to be picked (Swan, 2006, p,173).


  2. amybruck89 February 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Personally, I found shouting out fairly intimidating! Children who are aren’t so confident may not feel as able to contribute to class discussion if being vocal was encouraged all the time
    Direct Instruction uses a model-lead-test-retest method of teaching. (Meyer,Gersten & Gutken,1983).The teacher models the learning material- such as a letter sound, and then leads all the children in their small teaching group to respond in unison, solidifying the material. Finally, children are given ‘think time’ before asking them to respond as a group. ‘Social loafing’ is avoided, because the teacher is constantly checking if all the children are responding. The whole group go over the material if all the children aren’t responding. The teacher only asks children individually when the teacher is sure the whole group is confident with the material.
    I feel this is a better model than getting children to shout out- the less confident can be overpowered in the latter method.

    • Jesse February 15, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      Maybe – or is there a correlation between confidence (read – shout out) and academic performance. If that is the case, no amount of signing along will make a difference.

  3. sophmoss February 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Even though some children obviously enjoy being the first one to shout out the correct answer, I don’t believe this is always the best method of response. As mentioned by Amy, unison responding is a good way to check all children are contributing to the lesson and are following well.
    Research by Sterling and colleagues (1997) showed that in end of day tests, children who engaged in active student responses (using unison response to learn correct answers) actually performed better than children who engaged in on-task instruction (without unison response). These results were also reflected 2 weeks later in tests of maintenance.
    So, unison responding can produce better recall and maintenance of lessons. Teachers are not limited to choosing one pupil to answer a question either, this way they can track everyone’s progress much quicker than individual hand-raising.


  4. zolucock February 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I liked the whiteboard idea that Liz said, I think these are a non-threatening way of responding. However I remember these being implemented in a class in my high school and there were a few problems: firstly, the amount of time it takes to think then say is less than think than write, therefore it will probably take a much longer interval between the question and the response, resulting in a decreased response per minute rate, which has shown to be detrimental to the child’s performance (Skinner, Fletcher, & Henington). Additionally, every time the teacher wants the kids to respond it involves getting out the whiteboards, pens and erasers and then subsequently dealing with the predicable whine of run out pens and lack of eraser etc. Using children’s voices is much cheaper and doesn’t take any time to prepare. Finally, whilst the children are writing down their response it gives time for the children to copy/check each others, something that is eradicated when using unison choral responses.
    So although I think they’re a nice idea in theory, the practicality of their use in classrooms is compromised in my opinion.

  5. Alice Funnell February 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Similarly to the Whiteboard idea, is the idea of clickers. Like we found in first year, the process rarely worked and was very irritating. Yet if these could be implemented in a smaller classroom setting, and get some clitches sorted. I think that these could work.


    Clickers are anonymous, and would add an element of game into learning.
    They’d stop children shouting out, be harder to copy answers (like Zoes point about whiteboards). They would however, be more costly as an aid to learning.
    So, there are many other ways out there, but each have flaws, just like the children shouting out answers has.

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