Reflections on – ‘No hands up nonsense’

I came across this post at 

I think it encapsulates my feeling precisely.

I have used the technique on and off for a while and have decided to stick with ‘off’.

Sometimes I might get children to discuss and feedback – but I say who feeds back and they have to show a degree of understanding rather than ‘parrot’ a more able child’s response.

As teachers and educators, sometimes beware the policy shift from on high!

A good and outstanding teacher knows very well how to direct and differentiate questioning at a variety of levels to support pupils understanding. To blindly say “No hands up, means a) those who do have to find an alternative and b) those who don’t continue.

A teacher who doesn’t ever ask a child whose hand is down, is doing something wrong. In my opinion, I value seeing the force of hand raising to gauge confidence. I like to ask a child, “Is that half a hand up?” or “You’re really sure aren’t you?” or even “Why did you put your hand up, then take it down?….No, go on, what were you going to say?”.

Those are the questions which show children it is fine to be wrong sometimes and that a wrong answer is really valuable.

‘NO HANDS UP!’ Oh Please?!


Over the last few years, I’ve become aware of schools that have policies of ‘no hands up’.

To be clear, these are policies. Hence teachers are to some extent effectively banned from allowing pupils to put their hands up in lessons.

Pupils can’t put their hands up:

  • because they are indicating know an answer
  • because they want to answer a question
  • because they agree/ disagree with another answer

I presume pupils are still allowed to put their hands up to ask a question or to ask for help, but I’d hazard a guess that this is somewhat confusing.

This is the kind of nonsense that comes out of a healthy instinct to try to stop pupils from opting out, then it gets taken on by management and suddenly, ludicrously, turned into a policy. The idea is that if a teacher asks a question, pupils will ‘think/pair/square/share’. They are supposed…

View original post 440 more words

Posted on 31/05/2014, in T&L and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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