Reflective Participation Prompt

Participation Prompt

UDL 5.3

Reflective Participation Prompt is a social-support strategy in which the teacher uses reflective prompts to assist students in effectively entering cooperative play situations. When the class is engaged in interactive learning (e.g., free play, Circle Time), the teacher scans the room to identify students that are not engaged in play, but appear to desire entering cooperative play with one or more classmates. The teacher uses reflective statements to acknowledge the student's desire to play with classmates (e.g., "It looks like you may want to play with the puzzles, too."). Once the desire is confirmed by the student, the teacher uses reflective statements and questions (e.g., "How can you ask if you can play too?") to support the student in brainstorming strategies to successfully join in. Reflective Participation Prompts make the nuances of engaging in social interaction more clear and less intimidating for young learners building their social skills.

Implementation Tips

Encouraging Students
Encourage students to enter play situations effectively by providing reflective listening prompts. For example, say, “It looks like you would like to play. What can you say to your friends so you can play with them?”
Preparing Prompts in Advance
Generate a list of go-to prompting statements in advance of supporting students during play. Update the list frequently to highlight particularly effective statements or add new statements.
Making Alternate Plans
Assist children in making alternate plans in case their attempt to enter a play situation is rejected (e.g., “You tried asking your friends to play! It sounds like they don’t want to play right now. What will you do instead?”).
Explicit Instruction
Deliver explicit whole group instruction on how to effectively join others in play. For example, say, “When we want to play with someone, it’s important not to disturb them when trying to play with them. We have to think about how we can ask them if we can play in a gentle way.”
Modeling Reflective Thinking
Model using reflective thinking to enter play situations. For instance, when approaching the Art Corner say, “I would like to paint with my friends. How could I ask them to let me paint too? I know! I’ll say,’May I paint with you?’”
Determining When to Use Prompts
Differentiate between students who need assistance entering cooperative play and those engaging in individual play (e.g., The student appears content playing with a stuffed animal by herself) to avoid disturbing the individual play activity.
Incorporating Role Play
Role-Play during small group time to demonstrate how to enter play situations effectively using reflective thinking (e.g., “Let’s pretend you want to play in the Kitchen Center, but your friends are already playing. What would you say to play too?”).


Encouraging Cooperative Play
While scanning the room during free choice play time, the teacher identifies a student that is not participating in play, but is keenly observing classmates playing in the building area. The teacher approaches the student and says, “It seems like you would like to play with the magnetic tiles too.” After the student agrees, the teacher asks, “What can you say or do so you can play too?” The student struggles to think of ideas for joining in. The teacher prompts, “Could you say, ‘can I play?’” Once the student has asked to join in, the teacher reinforces the student’s participation attempt with positive verbal praise (e.g., Great job! You thought about what you were going to say and then asked to join in.”).
Anticipating and Redirecting Ineffective Participation
During Show-and-Tell, the teacher notices that one student is particularly antsy, wanting to see and hold the item being shared. The student inches toward the speaker and begins to reach for the item. To proactively support the student in a successful peer interaction, the teacher asks, “What would be a good way to get your classmate to let you hold the toy.” The student says, “I can ask him to hold it. I’ll tell him I will be careful with it.” The teacher encourages the student to implement the idea and provides positive feedback for trying the strategy.

Related Strategies