The dangers of cold calling

You’re sitting in class and the teacher asks a question. No one raises their hand, no one says anything. 

The teacher is left with no other choice than to call on a random student in the room. The teacher calls on the quiet student in the back of the room who hasn’t spoken today. Panic and fear flooded in their eyes because they didn’t know the answer. They don’t want to speak in front of the class because they don’t want to get the answer wrong. 

Teachers don’t think about the impact they can have on another person when cold calling. This can cause someone to spiral and panic. 

In some cases, cold calling can’t be avoided, but in most cases, there is typically another choice. The majority of the time, a student doesn’t raise their hand because they don’t know the answer. Calling on them anyway when they don’t know isn’t going to help or teach them anything. 

Preparing for a class where cold-calling is expected can be stressful for teens and fills them with dread for the upcoming class. 

Cold-calling can be considered a cruel teaching tool for teachers to use, and while I agree with that, I also think if it is done right then it can be effective in certain situations. To some people, cold calling is considered a powerful teaching tool but that doesn’t always mean it’s a good tool or the best option.

There is a right and wrong way to use this tool. The wrong way would be using cold-calling to bring a student out of a daze and make the student suddenly feel panicked or embarrassed with a difficult question that they won’t know the answer to. These situations are the kind that can give cold-calling a bad name and bring stress along with it. 

However, there are some right ways to use this tool in the classroom. In the classroom, it can be helpful for students to talk in front of others, and it is also beneficial for them to hear other students voice their opinions on certain topics. In some cases, cold calling can also encourage other students to speak voluntarily if they know the answer because they get a certain bit of pride along with knowing the answer and not having to be called out in front of the class. 

Cold calling works for some but not for all. Yes, it is necessary to make a classroom run efficiently but only if it is being used in the right way.