the teacher asks as question. The answer the student gives is not what is expected.
What should happen next?
The answer is, it all depends.
Perhaps the teacher should ask WHY the student gave that answer.
It may be the student has a misconception that by asking for clarification the teacher can help correct that misconception immediately.
It is also possible that the way the question was asked pointed the student in the wrong direction, or was misleading. By clarifying the question (perhaps restating it) the student can be guided towards the correct answer.
Please note - the student is providing the original answer, not selecting from four or five preselected possibilities one of which MUST be correct.
But there is still one more possibility, and it is part of what makes teaching sometimes both exciting and scary.
The student offers an explanation which is based on an insight/understanding the teacher has never considered. That may be the most important thing that happens in that class for a week, or even more.
Shaping our teaching to have students be successful on selecting predetermined answers on multiple choice items does not require or even encourage deeper learning or understanding.
And if we insist on using multiple choice items, then perhaps we should provide our students with the opportunity to go back, figure out why they got a question wrong, provide a justification for what the correct answer is for partial credit. After all, should not one outcome of assessment be to help the student correct her misunderstandings, to learn from his mistakes?
It is moments like the student insight that I will miss when I see my students for the last time on Wednesday. It is realizing that I will not have the opportunity to challenge, to help them take ownership of their own learning, that will cause me to ache a bit when I walk out of my classroom, cleaned up and ready for its next occupant, midday on June 11.
Imagine you are in a classroom.
Imagine the possibilities for excitement, for real learning.
Think what we are doing by our educational policy to those possibilities.
Perhaps now you can understand at least in part why I am leaving?