Call and Response in Teaching in the Classroom

What is Call and Response?

Call and response in teaching refer to a strategy where pupils respond in unison to a certain teacher’s ‘call’. The Call is often verbal but sometimes accompanied by hand gestures or full-body actions (for example, jumping, clapping or walking from one place to another).

Because classrooms can be busy and noisy, especially when the children are engaged in learning activities, you will need to find a way to get your students’ attention quickly and efficiently. Using a Call and Response for teachers could be particularly useful in cases like this. You can use them to get pupils ready to learn, recall learning or create a long-term learning memory.

Another benefit of using Call and Response in teaching is that they can help refocus pupils’ attention on the teacher when an answer, instruction or further information is required.

A commonly used (and silent) example is when a teacher gestures for silence by placing a forefinger on their lips, and the children respond by doing the same. However, that’s not the only purpose of this versatile teaching method!

What are some valuable strategies for using Call and Response in teaching?

In school, its primary function is to get pupils’ attention without repeating yourself. However, with some creativity, you can use it to make stopping your class more fun and exciting whilst reinforcing your expectations for good speaking and listening. You can also adapt it for different purposes.

So, choose something quick, catchy and fun to say. Your students will be particularly interested in a call that sounds like it’ll be a fun thing to say or one that requires them to get moving.

Examples of Call and Response

Below are some attention-getters to put your class in control;

         Teachers         Students
Hocus-pocusIt’s time to focus
Chugga, chuggaChoo, choo
Hands-on topThat means stop
Ready to listenReady to learn
Every choice you make countsMake choices you can count on
If there’s a problemYes, we solve it
I’m talkingI’m listening
Are you ready?Yes, I am
It’s up to you how far you goIf you don’t try, you’ll never know
RememberWho you are
All it takes isFaith and trust
One, two, three eyes on meOne, two eyes on you!

Once your students know the appropriate response to your call, make sure to do the routine often enough that it becomes a habit – something to look forward to that’ll brighten their day.

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