Create a safe classroom environment where you can call on students in a random order to ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute equally.


  • Write student names on notecards to allow you to call on students randomly during class.
  • To avoid your bias about students influencing what questions they get asked, it is best to ask the question first before picking a student to answer. This also encourages all students to listen to and think about the question.
  • This strategy only works if students feel safe making mistakes. Otherwise this can make students feel threatened and ultimately not able to focus on the course content. To create this safe environment you can celebrate confusion and allow students to pass. If a student passes on a question, it can be helpful to return to them to make sure they can later answer the question.
    • Harvey Mudd College faculty member Melissa O’Neill has co-authored a paper with a description of this technique.


  • This ensures an even distribution of opportunities to participate.