Check in with students about their understanding by doing thumbs up/down polls to avoid assuming the most vocal students speak for all students.


  • Ask students a question and ask them to respond by voting thumbs up or thumbs down. You can also ask questions with 3 options (thumbs sideways) or a variable scale. For example, “Does this make sense? Thumbs up for yes and thumbs down for no.”
  • For questions about whether or not students understand a particular topic, it is safest to assume that non-voters are not sufficiently comfortable with the material.
  • You can dynamically adjust the class and/or your explanations based upon student feedback.


  • It can be helpful to get frequent informal feedback from students to adjust the class pace or content.