Response chaining involves linking or “chaining” students’ responses. The teacher begins by asking a question, to which one student responds. Other students are then asked to respond to that student’s response. This pattern continues with one response being linked to another like links in a chain. This can be used with both questions with one straightforward answer and questions that are open ended.
If chaining is used with questions that require short answers or have one answer, students respond to another student’s answer in one of three ways: the answer was correct, partially correct, or incorrect. When a student contends that a previous student’s response was correct, the teacher asks them to explain why it is correct or add information to the first answer. When a student contends that a previous answer was partially correct they must explain which part was correct and which part was incorrect. When a student contends that the answer was incorrect, they must supply what they believe is the correct answer.
When used with open-ended questions that require extended responses, the pattern begins with the first answer. After that students must link their answer to the previous one by adding information or explaining. Students respond that they agree, disagree, or partially agree. This way students are listening, restating and processing answers from their peers as well as generating their own ideas.