Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

01.12.22Support in a (Still) Difficult Time: More Free TLAC Online Modules

Building an inclusive community…now more than ever.

We are happy to announce that our TLAC Online modules have been fully revised and updated to align with Teach Like a Champion 3.0. In the modules, as in 3.0, we tried our best to focus on the impact each technique has on students, supporting educators in using the techniques strategically, to serve students and help them achieve.

Meanwhile Omicron has brought a new wave of challenges. As part of our continued efforts to support you in this challenging time, we are releasing all of our modules on Cold Call for free usage for the next 6 weeks. This includes our guidance for use of Cold Call in both brick and mortar and remote settings.

We’ve always believed that Cold Call, when used in a warm and predictable way, can be a teacher’s most powerful tool in creating an inclusive classroom.  Research out of Northwestern University supports this observation.

In a 2019 study about increasing gender equity during class discussions, Elise Dallimore, Julie Hertenstein, and Marjorie Platt found that “Cold Call increases the number of men and women who participate voluntarily…in high Cold Calling classes, women answer the same number of volunteer questions as men.  Additionally, increased cold-calling did not make either group uncomfortable.  However differences were observed between men and women in low Cold-Calling environments where women answered fewer questions than men.”

These findings build on an earlier 2013 study by the same team which revealed that, regardless of gender, students’ reported comfort participating in class discussions increases in classes with high Cold Calling.

If you’re looking for online adaptation, we’ve found that the “Chat Appreciative Cold Call,” is a particularly useful application in remote settings. The Chat Appreciative Cold Call involves asking students to respond to a question at the outset of class (the sooner the better!) using the chat function.  Give them a minute or two to respond and use Cold Call as a way to show your interest in especially thoughtful responses.  “Oh, Sherise. I love that you used the phrase ‘conservation of matter.’ Can you say more about that?” And then perhaps “And, David your point about states of matter was really interesting. Can tell us why you were thinking that?”

Inviting students to expand on an idea aloud is a warm and efficient way to let students know they are seen through the screen – and to send the clear message that though we are learning remotely, this will be a class that demands your active thought and participation.  Classes that build in Chat Appreciative Cold Calls within the first 3 minutes of instruction are particularly effective at resetting expectations for remote learning and making sure students stay involved throughout.

We will be opening our 6 modules on Cold Call for free usage for the next 6 weeks.  They are:


Whether you use these as part of a school-wide PD or to support an individual teacher, we hope they provide you with meaningful framing and clear action steps to use Cold Call to invite all students into the classroom conversation.

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