SOL: D9 “Does that make sense?”

Do teachers in your school use this phrase with your kids? Do you this phrase with your students? 

I never heard it from anyone until I moved to Washington. Or maybe I did but it never stood out? Tonight I went to a workshop and a professor was the speaker and she said it so many times. I learned about it last year watching my coteacher who taught matb my for 6th graders, he said it all. The. Time. I just couldn’t understand why. Why keep asking if what we were doing made sense? No one answers that in honesty ! 

So why do teachers ask it ?! I still have no idea. And now I have started doing it with lack of other words to say. I actually hate this saying a lot since it only promotes a yes or a no answer and it usually never gets a “no”. 

That picture above is when my kids stare at my like deer and I am starting to freak out! Lol 

But seriously, does anyone else use this question? If so why? And if not, what is a better question to ask ?! 
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20 thoughts on “SOL: D9 “Does that make sense?”

  1. I think I’m guilty of saying this once in a while, usually in response to the “deer in the headlights” look. I guess in that case it’s unnecessary, because clearly, what I’m saying doesn’t make sense! Not sure it’s unintelligent to ask that phrase, as the person who says it is clearly invested in making sure that things DO make sense for their listeners, but it’s what you do after that matters! If you plow on, probably not the best move. If you stop and reteach, good!

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  2. I do hear this phrase and am probably guilty of using it a time or two myself. However, it never seems right to me to either hear it or say it. You are right, I don’t think kids can give you an honest answer to that question. It’s like you are assuming them to say “yes, of course” and reinforce your ability to teach. If they say “no”, they are admitting in front of their peers that they just don’t get it and that is usually something kids shy away from doing. How about saying, how could you demonstrate to me that this (insert concept being taught) makes sense? or How about does anyone have any questions? Does anyone need clarification? Can you explain it back to me? Great post about something that probably should change.

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  3. It gets even better when the teacher barely pauses, allowing no think time or response time. I think it is often a teacher form of “and then.” I totally agree with the greater point I think you are making: we should be aware of the questions we ask and the purpose of those questions.

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  4. Okay, I teach college, and I say this to my students all the time. Now you have me thinking of alternatives. I mean, I do also ask them if they understand or if they have questions, but still. Hmm. Something to think about.

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  5. Typically, I ask whether my explanations *kind-of* made sense or helped. Giving them that out to rate the level between kind-of and a solid yes helps me know how to proceed. When the student says kind of, I interpret it as a very fuzzy answer that requires more clarification.

    I generally follow up with something like:
    So, how does it fit with what you’re doing?
    How do you think you will apply it / use the information?
    What about it still needs clarified?
    Should I come back and check on you in a few minutes to see if it’s working for you?
    Can you explain it to me in your own words?

    Good point, though. It’s almost the equivalent of the filler “um” in conversation.

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