Handling Student Answers So Every Bible Student Can Learn

Asking your Bible students questions is a critical part of an impactful Bible class for children and teens. While the types of questions you ask is important for assessing student learning and encouraging them to think more deeply about important topics, how you respond to their answers is also critical. Unfortunately, if student responses are handled poorly, it can create a dynamic that causes your students to shut down emotionally and mentally or even cause them to want to avoid attending your class entirely.

A study found that when incorrect answers are met with a frustrated attitude from the teacher – or worse yet derision, mocking or harsh criticism – students felt increased levels of anxiety and helplessness and were more likely to exhibit acting out behaviors. Those negative responses were also noted when students answered questions incorrectly in a classroom environment where their fellow students were allowed to act negatively towards a student who gave a wrong answer to a question.

The study also found that when teachers acted as if wrong answers were an important part of the learning process, the students reacted in a more positive fashion when they gave an incorrect answer. Comments like, “That’s a good guess”, “I can see where you might think that”, “I can see you are thinking”, etc. need to be honest, but can help mitigate possible embarrassment and anxiety.

Since the learning stakes in a Bible class are so incredibly high, it is important to note that students shouldn’t be allowed to believe their incorrect answers are correct. The correct answers need to be given before moving on to the next question or activity. Make sure all of your students understand why the answer is correct and help them work through mistaken thought processes if necessary. Students who still seem confused should be helped privately to lessen any possible embarrassment.

Use lots of questions on the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in your Bible class. Just make sure you create an environment where incorrect answers truly are treated like a part of the learning process.

Categories Classroom Management, Elementary, Mentoring, Preschool, Special Needs, Teens
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