What is the “Whip around” Strategy?

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Whip around strategyWhip around is a simple closure activity by which teachers can objectively analyze the quantity and quality of the students’ comprehension of the lesson. Though it does not allow for individual assessment, the whip around technique is a great way to identify the presence of gaps in understanding. It serves as an indicator i.e. whether to proceed or to re-teach the topic and is also used to generate ideas, thoughts and solutions in the class.

Whip around the classroom:

Whip around is fun and easy to use within the classroom. The teacher will initially pose an open ended question to the class. There is no right or wrong answer here and students are instructed to write down their thoughts on the same. Following this, the teacher will whip around or walk around the classroom randomly calling out on students to voice out their thoughts. Students are instructed to strike down similar answers and others are encouraged to share their unique thoughts with the rest of the class.

Once the answers are shared, teachers can have a quick review of the material and correct any mistakes or misunderstandings if any.

Here are some ideas to make the technique more interesting for students.

1)     Up and down:  Once the ideas or answers are noted down, the teacher will instruct the entire class to stand in their seats. They are then instructed to sit down if someone presents the same idea as written by them and to continue standing if their answer does not come up. As the teacher whips around the class, randomly picking students to read their notes, students will listen to each other and sit as and when their answers are named out. This method facilitates attentiveness of the class and allows the teachers to hear all the ideas.

2)     Poll method: The teacher randomly calls out 3-5 students and quickly writes their answers on the board. The teacher then reads out the first answer listed down and asks the students with the same answer to raise their hands. The number of students is counted and written next to the answer. Students with ideas not in the list are then instructed to raise their hands, and the same are listed down. Writing down the thoughts facilitates retaining and recalling the information clearly.

3)     Answer or pass: As the teacher whips around, students are encouraged to answer or say “pass” if they do not have an answer.  Students with same answers are allowed to repeat the same and are encouraged to add something extra to the discussion. For students who previously said “pass”, a few minutes is given to come up with something new and to present to the class.

Whip around is a one question tool that helps to clear misconceptions, understand the level of comprehension and assists in planning out the next class. It’s a great way to get students involved in what is being taught.

Discuss here: What are some ways in which you make your lesson interactive?

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