Teaching Tip: Cold Calling

Cold Calling is a simple technique in which you call on specific students regardless of whether they have raised their hands to answer a question you ask. It is not unusual to find that it is the same small group of students who raise their hands while the rest of the students disengage. The cold calling technique prevents this from happening. There are a number of benefits of using cold calling:
  • You can call on a student whose mastery of what you are teaching you want to check on.
  • You send a clear message that you expect all students to participate.
  • You can move the lesson along at a good pace without having to wait for a student to raise their hand.
Some teachers may be concerned that the cold calling technique creates a negative and possibly threatening classroom atmosphere. You can negate this concern by varying the difficulty of your questions and who you call on. Ask your best students the more difficult questions and ask your struggling students the easier questions.
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