Rick Lavoie

Tips for Teachers - Recall versus Recognition

January 2003

RECALL is more difficult than RECOGNITION. That is, you may be unable to RECALL Spiro Agnew's face…but if I showed you photos of five men - one of which was Agnew - you could probably RECOGNIZE him.

Use this concept when asking questions of kids. If a child is unable to answer a RECALL question, don't say "You're wrong!" and ask the question of another child. Rather, reframe your question by changing it to a RECOGNITION question.

For example:

"Taylor, can you tell me the capital of California?"
"No, I don't know it."
"Well, is it Boston, Sacramento, or Spokane?"
"Oh yeah. That's right…it's Sacramento."
"Way to go, Taylor. Nice job!"