Hamid Teach2030 Ambassador

Cultivating independent learners an fostering independent classroom: The Power of Cold Calling

Creating a classroom environment that encourages independent learning and inclusivity is crucial for educators today. One great teaching technique that can help achieve both of these goals is cold calling. Cold calling, often associated with its use in business and sales, it has been modified to education to enhance active engagement and involvement among students. In this blog post, we’ll explore how the technique of cold calling can be harnessed to raise independent learners and foster an inclusive classroom

Cold Calling Beyond the Stereotyping

Traditionally, cold calling might conjure images of telemarketers or salespeople trying to influence customers to make a purchase. However, in an educational context, cold calling takes on a completely different meaning. It involves calling on students who are not volunteers, prompting them to answer questions or share their thoughts on a topic. When used considerately, cold calling, or No Hands Up can offer several benefits that contribute to raising independent learners and promoting inclusivity.

Fostering independent learners

Active Engagement: No Hands Up requires students to stay alert and participate actively in class discussions. When students know that they might be called upon at any moment, they are more likely to come prepared and attentive, enhancing independent thinking

Critical Thinking: When students are required to respond to questions without previous preparation, they learn to think on their feet. . This practice assist in developing critical thinking skills and facilitates independent problem-solving, as they depend on on their own knowledge and perceptions.

Responsibility and Accountability: Cold calling or no hands up encourages students to take ownership for their learning. They understand that they cannot rely solely on the teacher or their peers, which encourages a sense of accountability for their own education

Confidence: Cold calling can help students overcome their fear of speaking in public or in a classroom setting. This newfound confidence can extend beyond the classroom, making them more independent learners in various situations.

Fostering an Inclusive Classroom

Equal Opportunity: No hands up ensures that every student has an equal chance to participate in class discussions. This inclusivity is essential in promoting a diverse and respectful learning environment.

Reducing Stereotyping: When the teacher randomly selects students to respond, it reduces the likelihood of stereotyping or favoritism based on factors such as race, gender, or academic performance.

Giving Voice To all Learners: Inclusive classrooms value the perspectives of all students. No Hands up encourages teachers to hear from a variety of voices, ensuring that no one’s insights are overlooked.

Encouraging Empathy: When students hear their peers’ thoughts, it promotes empathy and understanding, creating a more inclusive and respectful classroom community.

Tips For Effective Cold Calling

To make the most of cold calling or no hands up in your classroom, consider the following tips:

Be Respectful: Approach cold calling with thoughtfulness. Make it clear that the intent is not to embarrass students but to encourage participation.

Use Wait Time: After calling on a student, give them time to collect their thoughts before they respond. This ensures that they feel supported and valued.

Create a Safe Environment: Foster a classroom culture where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth, encouraging students to take risks when participating.

Vary the Approach: Mix no hands up with other participation methods, methods, such as volunteering, to maintain a balance and reduce anxiety.


Cold calling/No hands up can be a valuable tool in education for building independent learners and fostering inclusive classrooms. When used with care and consideration, it promotes active engagement, critical thinking, and a sense of responsibility among students. It also creates a learning environment that values the contributions of every student, regardless of their background or ability. As educators, we have the power to shape the future by nurturing independent thinkers and creating inclusive spaces, and cold calling is one way to achieve this.

Check out our Practical Active Learning course on the Teach2030 site to develop this skill further.

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