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Children putting hands up

Discussion in 'Primary' started by karizma1485, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Hi there,

    I'm a student teacher in my second week of placement. One of the comments made by my class teacher earlier this week was that I needed to differentiate my questions and make them more challenging particularly for the higher ability children. However I tried it today and I noticed that the higher ability children were unresponsive or in her words 'sleepy'. I noticed that these children only responded to more easier questions. Nevetheless she said the lesson was good and that I was showing that I had high expectations of the children and that I was pushing them. However I'm unsure whether giving them harder questions is pushing them. When I question them as I normally would do they are usually full of ideas. I understand that children should be pushed, as that is what they go to school for. However there just seems that something is not quite right when you ask a series of questions and just see a sea of vacant faces staring back at you and you are constantly having to give them the answers!
    Of course it likely I'm wrong as I am new to teaching but I would like to know whether a show of no hands after a question is asked is a good thing? I just get the impression from my teacher it is and since my teacher is my mentor as well it is difficult to get a alternative opinion.
    Any comments would be appreciated :)
     
  2. Hi there,

    I'm a student teacher in my second week of placement. One of the comments made by my class teacher earlier this week was that I needed to differentiate my questions and make them more challenging particularly for the higher ability children. However I tried it today and I noticed that the higher ability children were unresponsive or in her words 'sleepy'. I noticed that these children only responded to more easier questions. Nevetheless she said the lesson was good and that I was showing that I had high expectations of the children and that I was pushing them. However I'm unsure whether giving them harder questions is pushing them. When I question them as I normally would do they are usually full of ideas. I understand that children should be pushed, as that is what they go to school for. However there just seems that something is not quite right when you ask a series of questions and just see a sea of vacant faces staring back at you and you are constantly having to give them the answers!
    Of course it likely I'm wrong as I am new to teaching but I would like to know whether a show of no hands after a question is asked is a good thing? I just get the impression from my teacher it is and since my teacher is my mentor as well it is difficult to get a alternative opinion.
    Any comments would be appreciated :)
     
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Don't do hands up if they can't be bothered with it. Get them to answer in pairs why writing on a whiteboard or similar.

    Most people, children included, would rather do something easy than hard, doesn't mean you should revert to unchallenging work just because they prefer it.

    The lack of response doesn't mean the questions are inappropriate, they could just be poorly worded. Try asking them in a different way or not asking for a hands up response. Talk partners and the like would get round this idea.

    A class sitting there looking 'sleepy' when asked questions and the teacher then giving them the answers is definitely not a good thing. But this does not necessarily mean the questions and level of expectation was wrong. It could be the tone of the questioner or the expectation in the room.

    If the focus of the observation was to have higher expectations and you achieved this then well done to your mentor for praising you for it and not mentioning the poor response. For your next lesson think how you can ensure you get responses from children while keeping the work challenging.

    And thank your lucky stars you have such a good and positive mentor.
     
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think your teacher is right in encouraging you to push the brighter ones or else they're the ones likely to be 'dozy' or (much worse) cause disruption minor or majpr and it's the brighter ones who can be so creative at this.
    You say
    I wonder if that's the problem If you push them, they stare at you blankly and you then 'give' them the answer. what incentive is there to 'make the effort'? The 'key' and this takes sometimes a while to perfect is to 'guide the students' in the direction of working towards the answer. Sometimes open ended questions where there is 'no right or wrong' answer is good and children get to say what they think, you show you value their attempts and you then take their learning on from there.
    Latest thinking is 'no showing of hands'. It's only the confident ones who put up their hands, though many others (especially shyer ones) may know the answer. Simple questions which are easily answered by all abilities could be done by 'random selection' and then make sure you do some 'targeted HA ?s' towards specific children who need pushing. Take whatever answer they give and help them improve by skillful questioning.
    Teaching is a skill and takes a long time toacquire and use to it's full advantage.


     
  5. lisavicky

    lisavicky New commenter

    Try picking their names out of a hat so they all have to listen. You can change the questions difficulty to suit the child that comes out to the hat. I sometimes also tell them the question, get them to dicuss it in talking partners for 1 minute then choose either by pointing, hands up or out of the hat.
     
  6. Something I've used successfully in Numeracy (Y6) is to put a
    mathematical statement on the board, eg a simple multiply by 100
    calculation, and get the children to stand up if it's true.
    It's
    easy for the lower ability children to copy once the rest of the class
    have "decided" on the answer, but it's easy to tell who is doing so, and
    needs more support. Plus it's great fun to switch quickly between true and false answers to burn off some energy if they're a bit boistrous one morning.
    This would be a starter activity. It'd be harder to incorporate into a main input.


     
  7. i have a lollipop stick with each child's name on and use these for questions so that all the children have to try and think of an answer as they never know whose names will be pulled out however they also know that if they don't know the answer that is also ok because we then work it out together, it was an idea i saw on here and it works reall well. I then target higher level questions at the ha children and can simplify or adjust the question discretely for the la children
     
  8. skills324

    skills324 New commenter

    Talk partners, writing the answer on whiteboards etcare all good alternatives to 'hands up'. I also pick their name out of a box and that person has to answer the question (or attempt to).
     
  9. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    Kills324 has it right. Talk partners are an excellent way to get all involved and whiteboards give you chance to see who knows and who is looking at their neighbour before writing an answer. Lollipop sticks are the latest gimmick and they do work. My class like the electronic name picker, especially as it has my name in too.
     
  10. We do lolly sticks too - keeps them all on the ball and encourages a culture of 'it's okay to get it wrong'.
     
  11. Thanks for all your suggestions! I've just realised that I was feeling a little uninspired. I just couldn't see I am meant to push the children but keep them engaged at the same time. Your suggestions have given me hope and I will try some of them if I can. Thank you!
     

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