Don't Raise Your Hands; You Might Learn More

Filed under: In The News, Development: Tweens, Education: Tweens, Activities: Tweens, Research Reveals: Tweens


raise hand classroom

Pick me! Pick me! Credit: Getty


Show of hands. How many of you think you got a good education?

Put your hands down. It was a trick question. Truth be told, you might have a better education if you weren't always raising your hand.

A classroom experiment in England suggests kids do better in school when they don't raise their hands in response to a question, where one child is selected to give the right answer. They are better off if everyone in class writes the answer on a small whiteboard and raises their hands in unison.

The London Daily Mail reports the experiment was conducted as part of an upcoming BBC documentary involving a class of 13-year-olds who reportedly learned twice as quickly with the nontraditional method.

According to the Mail, filmmakers also learned that students who start the day with exercise do better academically.
Changing the traditional method of raising your hand if you know the right answers proved jarring at first, the Mail reports.

"The kids and teachers hated it at the beginning," Dylan Wiliam, deputy director of the London University Institute for Education and leader of the project, tells the Daily Mail. "The kids who were used to having a quiet time were rattled at having to do something. The ones who were used to showing off to the teacher were upset."

The new methods were tested on 25 students at Hertswood school in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire (45 miles northwest of London), for a term.

Wiliam tells the Mail he wanted to stop the few bright kids from dominating the class and encourage all students to take responsibility for their behavior.

Another change was that work was only graded when students finished an entire project. Wiliam tells the Mail this encouraged students to consider teachers' feedback rather than focusing on number grades.

The teacher also monitored a single pupil's behavior each day -- without telling the class which student was under the glass. If the student behaved, he or she was rewarded with a day at Alton Towers, a theme park.

That way, kids were encouraged to be good because they never knew if they might win the behavioral lottery.

The documentary, "The Classroom Experiment," airs later this month on BBC2.

Related: Poor Reading Skills Trap Children in Poverty, Study Shows

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.