Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

Using Response Cards in Teacher Education-A Case Example in Taiwan

Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

Using Response Cards in Teacher Education-A Case Example in Taiwan

Article excerpt


The opportunity to respond synonymously during academic learning time increases active student participation which is the key to learning (Heward, 1994, 2003). Active student participation/response is positively correlated to increased academic performance and learning outcomes (Dale, 1969; Heward, 1994, 2003; Kellum, Carr, & Dozier, 2001; Randolph, 2007). Moreover, increased student engagement in response to instruction eliminates wasted time and improves on-task behavior and school performance (Blackwell & McLaughlin, 2005). Many instructional strategies designed to promote active student response have been studied, including response cards (Heward et al.,1996; Shabani & Carr, 2004), guided notes (Blackwell & McLaughlin, 2005), choral responding (Narayan, Heward, Gardner, Courson, & Omness, 1990), clickers (Graham, Tripp, Seawright, & Joeckel, 2007; Heaslip, Donovan, & Cullen, 2014) and web-based instant feedback systems (Ward, Reeves, & Heath, 2003). Among these strategies, the use of response cards is the most examined strategy with more than 30 studies published in the Western predominated literature (Randolph, 2007).

Response cards are defined as reusable cards, signs, or items that are held up simultaneously by all students in the class to display their responses to questions or problems presented by the teacher (Gardner, Heward, & Grossi, 1994; Heward et al., 1996). They have been used for instruction in diverse class subjects and settings, and with students of all education levels with and without special needs (George, 2010; Randolph, 2007). The use of response cards is also a commonly adopted teaching strategy for school-aged children with and without disabilities (Cakiroglu, 2014; Gardner et al., 1994; George, 2010; Munro & Stephenson, 2009). In higher education courses, teacher-student interaction is frequently inhibited by one directional lecture method and large student enrollment. When response cards were used in university courses, it was found that the use of response cards resulted in undergraduate students' higher scores, greater participation, and favorable evaluation in the United States (Kellum et al., 2001; Marmolejo, Wilder, & Bradley, 2004; Shabani & Carr, 2004). However, the research in this area and application of response cards in teacher education and in Eastern settings, such as Taiwan was limited.

Handheld Response Cards: An Alternative Simultaneous Responding Option

Handheld response cards are user-friendly compared to high-tech strategies, due to low cost and simple training. There are two commonly used forms of response cards: pre-printed index cards for selection responses and write-on, dry-erase boards for constructed answers. Both have been shown to enhance classroom active participation and learning (Shabani & Carr, 2004). Compared to selection responses, constructed answers might result in better student performance and higher levels of thinking. It was also reported as being used more frequently in adult learners, but hand written cards can be more difficult to read and take more time to write and respond (Blackwell & McLaughlin, 2005; Shabani & Carr, 2004).

Most studies reported the following advantages of using response cards both in pre-K to 12 and adult learners: a) increased students' active class participation and willingness to participate, offered immediate feedback to the teacher, improved test achievement, and decreased distraction and disruptive behaviors (Kellum et al, 2001; Randolph, 2007); b) most students liked to use response cards and believed they increased their test scores (Kellum et al., 2001; Narayan et al., 1990); c) the cards supported teacher-directed large-group instruction (Narayan et al., 1990); d) the immediate visual student response enables the teacher to assess, modify, revise, or continue instructions and curriculum (Bennett, Blanchard, & Hinchey, 2012; Gardner et al. …

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