Whole Brain Teaching Explored – Teach-Okay

I use WBT in my classroom for one simple reason, it works! Not only does it painlessly introduce a highly effective classroom management program to my class each year, but it also uses brain-based research and strategies to allow me to effortlessly deliver my content in a meaningful and highly effective way. Teach-Okay is a perfect example of how effective WBT is because it offers me so many opportunities to do one of the most important things I can do for my students  – close my mouth and let them use theirs!

Teach-Okay is an integral part of the 5 Step Lesson plan (more on that in a future post) that gets student using four modalities of learning – Seeing, Saying, Hearing, and Doing! Brain research supports that optimal learning occurs when the brains primary cortices- (visual, auditory, language production and motor) are all activated. This is exactly what Teach-Okay accomplishes for us. While we are doing this (and any WBT method for that matter) we are also having FUN! This further solidifies the learning process, as we know that attaching an emotion (lymbic system) helps the brain remember information more readily.

How Teach-OK Works :

The class is divided into pairs. One student in the pair is assigned a One, the other students becomes a Two.

Since the goal is to have them engaged and talking, you want them to do a lot of the teaching. Present them with a small amount of information (chunking into no more than 3-4 new items), complete with gestures. It’s best to repeat it at least twice and let them know that they are going to have to teach their partners this information after (I like to use Mirror-Words here). When you finish, clap two times, say “Teach!” Your students respond by clapping twice and responding “OKAY!”

They then do “full body turns” and simultaneously copy your gestures (kinesthetic learning) while also mimicking the emotion in your tone of voice (limbic system).  As they teach one and other, take this opportunity to move around the room and listen in to what they are saying.  This way you can check for understanding and clear up any misunderstandings right away. If it seems they need more practice, Mirror-Words to practice some more and use Teach-Okay so they can practice it some more. Once they are ready, move on to the next small chunk of information, and follow the same pattern.


Keep it simple – Do not introduce too much at a time, or they will lose it before they ever get to use it.

Keep it fun – Vary the claps and patterns just as you would Class-Yes to keep the kids having fun.

Use it often – let the kids talk and teach one and other. No need for you to lecture to them… well, ever!


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