Monday, 1 June 2015

Using "Yes and......." not Using "Yes but......."

I was observing another teacher the other day and observing the questioning of the students. One of the points the stuck out in my mind was the teacher was asking fantastic and thought provoking open questions and leaving lots of room for interpretation. However, there was a small problem with the responses. They were right answers but not quite right, or along the right lines but not exactly the answer that the teacher was looking for in order to move the lesson forward. The teacher had in his mind the answers that would move the lesson forward. What happened was that the teacher would say to answer, that is great but....... or yes but.............

A small point, but it did nothing to validate the students thinking or the students answer. The student was therefore expected to find the correct answer or the validated answer perfectly the first time rather than explore a variety of possibilities for the answer or answers.

An example of the Yes, but..... scenario,  If a teacher asks a music student, can you describe the texture to this piece of music?

Student: It is thick with a melody and accompaniment.

Teacher: Yes, but it is what is called a homophonic texture.

In this example the student was perfectly correct in his answer but the teacher was after the correct terminology for the answer to be truly validated.

The better example would be to let the student or the class explore the possibilities of the answer and come to the conclusions themselves.

Teacher: Can you describe the texture to this music?

Student: It is thick with a melody and accompaniment.

Teacher: Yes and ............, what else can you say about the texture?

Student: The melody is by the strings and the accompaniment is by the orchestra.

At this point further prompting could be given, as the teacher is looking for the student to use the correct terminology. With starting with an open question as the one in the beginning to describe the texture, the teacher can make the question less open, as possibilities of the answer have been correctly explored.

Teacher: Yes, and what musical terminology would you use to describe the music?

Student: A homophonic texture.

The student has been correct all along but has been given an opportunity to show their understanding and explore the possibilities in their answer. Using the yes but......., means you are correct, but the teacher is more correct, therefore you, as the student, are wrong. Using the Yes, and....... validates the students answer and allows the answer to be extended and explored. It allows the student to process the question and to think about all the possible solutions and answers to the question.

Please feel free to comment or give examples of where you might of used the Yes, but....... and could of used Yes, and........

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