Kate has shared her reflections on her use of hinge questions here:

After focusing on the use of commas with my Year 10 group, I decided to use a hinge question to test their understanding. Students were shown three sentences and they simply had to decide which one used commas incorrectly. However, whereas one of the sentences was definitely incorrect, the other two were correct but for different reasons. I was hoping this would enable me to check students’ understanding of the different uses.

Screenshot 2016-06-03 22.26.26

To ensure that I got immediate feedback, students were given cards labelled A, B, C and D. This was really effective as I was able to see students’ responses quite easily. I was happy to see that students chose either A or B. However, when I began to question students, they were unable to articulate why they had made their respective choices. I was actually surprised by this as the use of commas is something that we keep revisiting in English. I decided that it would be beneficial for the whole class to revise commas and their usages and so, after a brief discussion, students completed a worksheet that I had prepared prior to the lesson which required them to correct the sentences, using commas as appropriate. To check students’ understanding once again, I repeated the process above but using different sentences.

Screenshot 2016-06-03 22.26.50

All students selected the right answer and, this time, they were able to explain their answers. Marking indicates that, although students’ writing is more accurate, students still need to focus on using commas correctly. I have therefore made this the class’ writing focus.

Next Steps:

  • Develop strategies to use once hinge question has been asked.
  • Use with different groups and embed into teaching practice.
  • Experiment with use to check understanding of content rather than skills.

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