The Role of the “Know-it-All”: Valuable Resource?

There is always going to be one student in a classroom that wants to raise their hand for every question and show off their intelligence to the rest of the class.  This student can be annoying to the other students in the classroom and can kill any possible chance of other students answering questions.  Students may be accustomed to that one student answering every question and cause major disruptions or develop apathy.  I had an experience like this when I was student teaching where the same student would answer my questions.  I attempted to diversify who I called on, but the one student was the only one who volunteered.  I wondered if my questions were poorly constructed, but I realized later that it was because the students were trained to think the one student would answer all of them.

Despite this poor experience, there is some good in a student who claims to know everything.  This student can shed some light on a subject and provide background experience of what they know to the rest of the class.  This, in turn, could spark some interest in the other students resulting in questions and more discussion.  The student is then seen as a valuable resource to the teacher and can help bridge the gap between students and knowledge.


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