Me: Did anyone hear me say, "No. That's wrong. You're wrong. I don't like your answer."
Me: Right. Instead, you'll hear me say things like, "Can you explain what you did here? Explain that, please. I noticed you did [this] here, please share how you got [that]. I'm curious how you came up with that. Walk me through what you did."I tell teachers that I'm taking the emphasis away from right versus wrong answers and placing an interest on the student's thought process and problem-solving. I continue with teachers:
Me: By telling a student they're wrong, a student can have the tendency to shutdown [I make the sound effect of a machine shutting down, "BOOOOvvvvvvvv"]. By asking a student to explain things, it shows that I'm more interested in how they arrived at their answer.As teachers, we know a student can be told they're wrong and it's easy for them to give up. On the flip side, when we validate a kid by telling them they're right, the student can also shut down and never reach the higher levels of Depth of Knowledge.
Recently, a workshop attendee asked me how I respond to students who have nailed the answer to a 3 Act task. First, I have them explain their problem-solving plan to me. Second, I question any details that were unclear, encourage them to be more precise, or have them explain their units of measurement. Third, I ask them if they feel confident in their answer after explaining it to me. Fourth, I validate them by simply saying, "That makes sense to me."
I don't tell them they're correct. I treat them just like as if they got the answer wrong. If that doesn't satisfy them, I respond with, "We'll find out soon if you're correct, but that (their explanation and work) makes sense to me." At this point, I offer them an extension to the task. I'd like to talk more about this later, but usually the extension revolves around the students creating something with the new knowledge or skills they have just recently gained.
After all that, please add your favorite lines when questioning students to this Google doc. I think it's also helpful we create a list of lines we avoid using with students as they explore math.
Here are a few people with other stellar teacher moves/lines to support students.
Max Ray: 26 Questions You Can Ask Instead
Dan Meyer: You Don't Have To Be The Answer Key
David Cox: Creating A Culture Of Questions
Steve Leinwand: Accessible Mathematics