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Create a safe space for students who are 'not sure'


As an instructor, you may often expect your students to have all the answers ready! You work on lesson plans, deliver a lecture and then ask questions, all with one thing on the mind. Helping the students learn and understand new concepts. But is it the case all the time? How many of your students actually don’t know the answer or are not sure? 

What if, instead of expecting our students to know all the answers, we let them say “Not sure”?

Why is it necessary?

Allowing students to admit when they are not sure to answer is a powerful way to teach! Yes you heard it right! It can create an open and honest classroom culture, where the students need not feel embarrassed to seek help. This can let you know where they are struggling, and you can provide additional support and resources. 

Creating an honest environment actually makes sure that everyone from the class feels included in all the important conversations. Also, when there is more participation the instructor feels and stays motivated to create better learning experiences for the students. 

How to do it though? 

Including the ‘Not sure’ Option:

You can include the ‘Not sure’ option in your quizzes and assignments. It could be as simple as adding an ‘not sure’ button in your quizzes alongside the other options. This option can help the students to be honest without the fear of getting their questions wrong and not being able to talk about it. 

This is why we introduced this option in Vidya! You can create quizzes or assessments that include the Not sure option. Our mission is to help students stay engaged and be inclusive in every learning session without the fear of being embarrassed or judged. As an instructor, you can generate insights from the same and focus on who needs attention. 

Don’t move on but provide clarification:

Now that you have the data of students who have responded ‘Not sure’, it's important that you just not accept the answer and move on! You can encourage the students to ask more questions and seek clarification on concepts they are not sure about. Here, you can provide additional resources like videos, readings, homework or even an open book test to make them understand everything thoroughly. 

Including this option is not only helpful for the students but for the teachers as well. For instance, if a large group of students say ‘Not sure’ for a particular question, it may indicate that the concept was not fully grasped or understood. Here, as an instructor, you can change the way you deliver the lecture or revisit the same topic later with a different approach.   

When you let your students say ‘Not Sure’ you create a valuable teaching and learning opportunity for everyone in the session. As mentioned above, an honest classroom culture gets cultivated and it provides an opportunity for additional learning support or resources. 

So the next time, when a student admits that they don’t know something, consider it an opportunity to help them and grow.


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