Don’t ask me, do it.

MH900448334When other teachers see me teaching or training they are often very surprised that I spend most of the time sitting back saying nothing.

(Which is a big contrast to how I come across on the online training videos!)

The reason is that if I give a student a task e.g. a teacher to figure out how to do something on a computer or lesson plan, or a student in how to say a particular phrase, then I don’t want to give them the answer.

And I especially don’t want them to wait for me to give them the answer!

So I wait.


Sometimes excruciatingly.



I don’t even want them to ask me if they got it right. I just want them to do it. Β To take charge and just do it or say it.

*I* know they can do it, that’s why I chose that particular task for them. Β And I also know they *don’t* know they can do it, that’s why I chose that particular task for them. πŸ™‚

So I wait for them to get the courage to try. Β If they get it wrong, who cares, we’ve covered that before.

When they get it right, they feel like they’ve just run a marathon!

Big smiles all round.


For many teachers this pausing feels weird.

*Very* uncomfortable.




So they jump in.


They feel they have to move things on.

They feel they have to fill the space with some talking of their own.

And the *kids* learn to wait. Instead of think.

They know the teacher will give them the answer. Or move on to the next kid. So why bother?

And then the teacher says that their students are “shy” or won’t answer questions or talk in class. πŸ™‚

Don’t ask me!

It’s all a question of what sort of teacher you want to be.

Do you want to be the one that talks all lesson, that fills all the gaps and can’t bear the long pauses?

Or ……



……what sort of teacher do you want to be?

Be genki,


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

3 Responses to “Don’t ask me, do it.”

  1. Craig Macdonald

    I do the same thing but since I only have the kids for 50 minutes a week, if they take too long, then I start to give hints.

  2. Margit

    My problem, especially in big ES classes :
    the kids are so inpatient and give hints or answers to the mates I’ve asked a question.
    And the bad thing is that ES (and worth JH) teachers encourage this.
    This is the worst point for me in team teaching.
    I think they want to focus and communicate that it is okay and important to help each other. But the kids who are helped really are victims.

    This is how also my daughter got the stamp “ESPECIALLY SHY” and teachers kept pairing her with a few kids who are very kind and “helpful” with the effect that she really wouldn’t speak or do things on her~ Last year I pushed to get her separated and now she has some friends where she is the leader, she does her stuff alone and none says she’s shy. But it really takes HRTs to notice, and there are only few who do.

    In my private classes I split the time where anyone can speak, and the time (especially Phonics time) where only the kid I’ve called is allowed to speak. They know after a while how important it is, but in a team teaching situation it is just horrible!

  3. Elvira

    Thank you for reminding me of what kind of teacher I want to be.I don’t want to be just a chatterbox and fill all the gaps being not able to bear long pauses. What I want is to reach a happy medium here.Yes, it is very painful, I agree 100% πŸ™

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