Do students have the right to be told whether they are correct?

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Episode 108: Hello University of Maryland

Some students feel that it is an instructor's responsibility to make sure they have the right answer eventually, but instructors may want students to learn to judge the soundness of their ideas for themselves. Do students have the right to be told whether they are correct?

July 3, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Not giving the answer, Coping with frustration
Physics Content
Instructor Interaction
STEM-wide audiences

Lesson Contents (3 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

(2 MB)Specific Lesson Guide
Facilitator's guide for this lesson

(1 MB)General Facilitator's Guide
Background and best practices

(125 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What did you observe in this episode? Talk to your partners about what you saw.

  2. Arlo asks the instructor (Lloyd) questions and Lloyd doesn’t answer them. What does he do instead? List several specific things. What’s good about what the instructor does?

  3. Claire and Arlo don’t like the instructor’s response at all. What do you think they dislike about it?

  4. Instructors ask questions for a variety of purposes, for example to determine what students have learned; to get students to recall information; to help students be actively engaged; or to validate student thinking. Choose a few questions that the instructor asked and try to identify why the instructor asked that question.

  5. Consider the following exchange between three instructors discussing this episode.

    Linda: Lloyd didn’t help the students, as you can see from what they said when he left. Next time he should not play games with them – if they’re right, just tell them they’re right.

    Lucy: I don’t really care if the students like what Lloyd did; I care that they learn as much as possible. I think Lloyd gave them some good medicine by encouraging them to develop their own judgment. If it’s a little bitter tasting on the way down, fine.

    Lafayette: I think the students have to trust their instructor in order to be honest with him or her, and that honesty (or lack of it) will affect their learning.

    What do you think of what the instructor did? If you think he could have done better, what do you suggest?

  6. Do you believe that the students in this episode should be told whether they are correct?

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