Delaying No Opt Out

No Opt Out is part of the excellent Teach Like a Champion questioning flow that is used all the time. The combination of Cold call, wait time, right is right and no opt out is dynamite at increasing the think ratio in the classroom and helping students learn more. Here is a typical quick version:

Teacher: What is the function of the chloroplast?….. Stephen?

Stephen: I don’t know

T: who can help Stephen out?….. Laura?

Laura: the function of the chloroplast is that it is the site of photosynthesis.

T: thanks Laura! Stephen: What is the function of the chloroplast? 

S:  the function of the chloroplast is that it is the site of photosynthesis

T: brilliant thanks!

I was watching the lesson last week of a brilliant year 2 Teach First trainee at my school. They used an Identical approach with their top set year 8. In the feedback they expressed they felt like they were wasting the class’s time by doing No Opt Out this way, as the student appeared to be paying attention and their recital of the right answer was instant and effortless. Their thoughts were that it slowed the lessons and became somewhat performative. 

When we discussed the options we practiced asking a student to provide a cue instead of the answer but we also discussed the idea of delaying the No Opt Out. 

By delaying the request for the student to recall the answer we are making it effortful and asking them to retrieve it. This will make the task more challenging and therefore valuable. How long to wait though? This is something that depends on the context. If you are asking a bank of say 6 questions you could circle back to the No Opt Out at the end of the last question without ruining the flow of the lesson. Another good time is after the independent tasks have had feedback, or at the end of the lesson as the students are getting ready to pack away.

How do we make sure we don’t forget?

There are a number of ways from making notes on boards, on seating plans etc.. I tasked my trainee with experimenting with different methods over the next week and we will see what works of them.

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