Skip to content

Indicator 3 – Fails To Address Misunderstandings

Managing the Classroom

Engaging Students in Learning

Indicator 3 - Fails To Address Misunderstandings UETS 4a., 7c.

Effective teachers immediately clarify students' concerns or misunderstandings about class procedures, activities, academic concepts or processes. Effective teachers always respond to opportunities for supportive correction of inaccurate responses.


  1. Review relevant past concepts and skills before beginning instruction.
  2. Use clear and concise language to introduce new concepts. Identify and define new vocabulary.
  3. When giving directions, write only one direction per step on the board, or state one step of the directions at a time to avoid confusion. Check for understanding of directions prior to beginning independent practice.
  4. Emphasize important points during the lesson and review main ideas and subordinate ideas as you move through the lesson. Frequently check for student understanding.
  5. Use accurate examples. If you discuss fractions with elementary students, use pies and objects that can be divided visually. Use manipulatives whenever possible to solidify concepts.
  6. Elicit frequent responses from students by asking questions during demonstrations and lectures to verify understanding and clear up misconceptions.
  7. Relate what is taught to a student's real-life experiences:
    • Provide students with materials to allow them to maintain a checking account when you are teaching financial literacy or when you are teaching specific concepts related to money, such as addition and subtraction of decimals.
    • Have students write an essay comparing the actions of the main character in the story to how they would have responded in the same situation.
    • Using a nutrition log students have been keeping, help students develop healthy lifestyle goals.
  1. Have students work in pairs to explain the concept to each other and provide an example.
  2. Use follow-up questions to focus on answers that students seem to misunderstand. Ask clear questions, and give every student (don't forget the quiet ones) a chance to respond before you move on.
  3. Model the skill that students are expected to perform.
  4. Provide a sufficient amount of guided and independent practice that focuses on previously introduced skills in order to avoid misunderstandings.
  5. Monitor the classroom by moving about to provide help when needed. Try not to spend more than 30 seconds with each child, but always be available to clear up confusion immediately.
  6. Provide feedback to students on independent practice or homework in a timely fashion. Allow students to self-reflect on their performance and redo inaccurate responses after the work has been completed.

Back to Table of Contents