K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Numbered heads together1 is a cooperative strategy that offers an alternative to the competitive approach of whole-class question-answer, in which the teacher asks a question and then calls on one of the students with a raised hand. In the numbered heads together approach, the teacher has students number off (e.g. 1-4), asks a question, and then tells the students to “put their heads together” to develop a complete answer to the question. When the teacher calls out a number, the students with that number raise their hands to respond. This structure facilitates positive interdependence, while promoting individual accountability. It also gives confidence to lower achievers because they know they will have the correct answer to give to the class.