Teaching Tip #12: Using Response Cards in Class

As more and more schools are adopting inclusive education as part of their instructional practices, it is important that everyone in class is equitably involved and participate maximally, even as teachers engage in teacher fronted lessons. Using response cards in the class is a great strategy because it is the easiest way to ensure good participation, even in a large class.

Interacting with the class through response cards becomes an informal way of checking learner understanding and thus guides the teacher in her next course of action. Well, what are response cards? There are many ways you can create these cards. They are basically labelled index cards, each card, approximately 3″ x 5″ in size. These labels may be A, B, C or Ds, colour-coded sets of responses, a pre-designed set of answers or responses or even a set of multiple-choice questions. Of course, these cards need to be written large enough to fill the entire space of the card so they can easily be seen from across the room. These could be created by the teacher or the students, with instructions from the teacher. Each student should have a set of response cards.

This is how you use it: when you ask the class a question, give some thinking time before asking students to hold up the letter card, colour card or response card representing their answer. Give a quick glance around the room and you can check for understanding. Every student participates by holding up their response card and you may be spared of grading another assignment!

Response chaining is a similar process where student answers are linked or chained together in a series, thus ensuring learner attention and participation. Begin by getting everybody to respond, using their cards. Then the teacher calls on one student to respond to the question. Following that response, the teacher calls on another student to respond to the initial answer. If the question asked requires a straightforward answer, then a student is asked to respond to the first student’s answer to explain why it is correct or if the answer is incorrect, the student provides the correct answer and again explains why it was incorrect. And if the student responds that the answer is partially correct, then she needs to explain the reason. If the first student’s answer is in response to an open-ended question, by looking at the others’ response cards, the teacher can call on multiple students to agree, disagree with or modify the first response.

Response cards thus tend to make classroom responses a less cumbersome and noisy process, and also ensure greater participation.



Author: Sonali Bhattacharyya



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