Engagement Strategies - Choral Responses


Choral responses involve all students giving a verbal response at the teacher’s signal. Choral responses are used when answers are short and the same, when recall and rehearsal of facts is desired. They are useful for a quick review of information. Choral responses can be used throughout all components of an explicit lesson to increase engagement and to check for understanding.


  Use in the Classroom

Choral responses should be structured to avoid students ‘calling out’.  This structure could include having all students look at the teacher who will:

  • ask a question,
  • put up their hand to indicate silence and thinking time,
  • lower their hand and say, ‘Everyone..’

Any signal or cue that results in students saying the answer could be used. Choral responding is most successful if adequate thinking time is provided. Students may put thumbs up or look at the teacher to indicate adequate thinking time.  If students do not respond or blurt out an answer, teachers can repeat with a gentle re-do (e.g.  ‘Oops, my hands were not down yet, try again, wait for my signal’).  



  • Word or letter-sound recognition—flash up the letter/s or words, signal with ‘What word?’ or ‘What sound?
  • Blending: ‘/d//o//g/ makes…’, ‘Book and shelf make…’, ‘com-put-er makes…’
  • Segmenting: ‘Say the syllables in watermelon’, ‘Say the phonemes in stamp’, ‘Football without the ‘foot’ is…’
  • Vocabulary/Definitions: ‘A phoneme is… Everyone?’, ‘A noun is… Everyone?’, ‘A word that describes a noun is an…’ (signal), ‘The oppositive of ‘up’ is…? (signal)


  • State or show a number or its representation on a dice or blocks or tens frame: ‘The number is…, The number before is…, The number after is…, Ten more than this number is…, The numeral in the tens place is…, Its value is…’
  • Facts: times tables, addition facts, friends of ten (the friend of 4 is…signal)
  • Vocabulary/Definitions: ‘Subtraction is…’

  Personalised Learning

When students with additional needs are engaging with learning by using choral responses, there can be some potential barriers that need to be considered.  These may include the articulation of speech, auditory memory for sounds, syllables and words, vocabulary knowledge, auditory processing or sensory differences, or the presence of background noise.  Some students may be reluctant to speak in a group.

Some potential adjustments may include:

  • Explicitly teaching choral responses to the individual student.
  • Pre-teach some of the key words and provide time for practice.
  • Slowing the pace of delivery.
  • Providing visuals or gestures along with any verbal cue.
  • Use a pre-programmed text-speech technology function.
  • Provide an attention signal before asking students to pronounce words.
  • Value effort over current answers. Explicitly teach that ‘it’s ok to make mistakes.
  • Increase wait time for the student to respond.
  • Use auditory cues to indicate when to respond.
  • Intersperse teacher questions with content already acquired by the student.
  • Student responds to alternate questions rather than every question.


Active participation: Choral response

Dr Anita Archer explains how to use choral responses in a classroom

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