Friday, February 03, 2006

The hand raising kerfuffle (and kids weigh in)

I don't remember any of my teachers being cowed by the fact that some kids raised their hands more often than others. (Nor did kids who tried to stay invisible get away with it.) But apparently some teachers in London don't know how to deal with it, and so have posted "No hands up" notices. No, really. I couldn't make this stuff up.

And, no, I don't think that going to a no-hands-up policy in and of itself is necessarily a bad thing. I think that a teacher scanning the room and picking on the student he wants to pick on can work very well. For that matter, that's what I remember my teachers doing anyway, if they weren't content with whoever was vying the most strenously for attention. That old 'you never know when you'll be called on' idea has some merit, of course.

But to ban hand raising as if teachers can't bypass handraisers at their discretion strikes me as a bit odd.

And to do it for the reasons cited in the above-linked article -- most nobably, to contend that hand raising leads to feelings of victimization, for pity's sakes -- doesn't strike me as indicative of a healthy school environment, let's put it that way.

I feel for public school teachers these days. Really, I do. Troublemakers in the student body have too much protection, unions fight for the right of incompetent teachers and administrators to set the standards, too many parents have yielded their responsibilities to whoever will pick up the slack, the pop culture can't be helping young folks too much, etc.

But, honestly. Stuff like this makes it very hard to feel sorry for the teachers involved. Really it does.

If you're wondering what kids think, the CBBC has invited students to discuss Should you put your hands up in class?. The comments are all over the board, as you might imagine, but quite a few of these youngsters show some pluck and common sense. (A number of them, of course, appear to feel put upon by whatever option they're under. Are we surprised?)

One common topic seems to keep popping up, however. It seems like a lot of these kids think that the alternative to hand raising is to have students shouting out the answers. It sounds like that's what they're used to?

Update: More on this over at Either End of the Curve


reader_iam said...

I'm with you. I linked to this last night.

Kathryn Judson said...

reader iam, Thanks for the link. I think you make some good points in your post, too. Go, girl!

reader_iam said...