One of the things my Delta Module 2 tutors helped me realise was that I was sometimes repeating my students’ responses. This is often referred to as ‘teacher echo’.
(Cullen, 2002:184)
Having observed quite a few lessons, I’ve noticed I’m not the only one who echoes. So, I started thinking about it. Is teacher echo beneficial?

Echo. Friend or foe?

Here are some pros and cons. Let me know what you think, or whether you’d add anything to the list.

✔️ pros

  • echoing to confirm correct answers, e.g. he’s responsible, correct.
  • echoing to amplify correct asnwers:to ensure the rest of the class have heard it, too.
  • both at the same time : confirm+amplify
  • echoing to show we are paying attention to what the student is saying.
  • echoing to clarify what has been said/negotiate meaning. e.g. you said he’s responsible, right?.
  • echoing with rising intonation to indicate error and invite students to self-correct. e.g. responsable? ↗️
  • update: Luiz Otavio Barros added that ‘some teachers echo to show students that what they say matters and is echo-worthy.’

❌ cons

  • Echoing promotes IRF, more specifically IRE (Initiation, response, evaluative rather than discoursal follow-up). Read more about the F-move in Cullen’s article.
  • This stops students from interacting with each other. The teacher initiates and ends the exchange.
  • Echoing tends to increase unnecessary TTT.
  • Echoing slows down the lesson. Boredom. Students expect teachers to repeat every single thing they say.
  • Does it promote authentic interaction? Do we echo all that much in real life? Rarely, according to Cullen.
  • update: Rhys Moses added that echoing could be seen as a form of correction (even if it’s not) if your pronunciation is different from the student’s.

🔊🧑🏽‍🏫What about teachers’ self-echo?

We don’t only repeat what students say; we also repeat our own utterances. 🤔

There are cases where a teacher produces a verbatim repetition of their previous utterance or a reformulated utterance,

Demirkol, 2022

e.g. Why did this happen? …What might be the reason?…

Why do we do that?

According to Demirkol:

  1. to allocate more thinking time for students. My question is: can they really think while we’re talking? 🤔 I would say give them some Post-Teacher Question Wait-Time (Stahl, 1994). Some uninterrupted silence rather than echoing your question. Scott Thornbury reminds us:

2. To scaffold the process; the teacher aims to improve learners’ understanding of what thas been said. Ok, that makes sense to me.✅ I’d say reformulating would be more useful than echoing in this case.

👉🏼 What about you?

Do you echo your (students’) utterances? Why do you usually do it? Are you aware of your teacher echo? Would you consider reducing it or not?

Let me know in the comments! ⌨️⌨️

➡️➡️Update: You can read the relevant LInkedin thread here! A great discussion!

For mythology buffs..


Cullen, R. (2002) Supportive teacher talk: the importance of the F-move. ELT Journal, 56(2), pp.117-127.

Demirkol, T. (2022) Functions of Teacher Echoing in an EFL Class Delivered via Videoconferencing, ERIC. Available at: (Accessed: February 27, 2023).

Northall , N. (2013) Echo, echo, echo…, English Teaching Professional, (88), September, 2013. Available at: (Accessed: February 27, 2023).

Using “Think-Time” and “Wait-Time” Skillfully
in the Classroom. ERIC Digest.
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