Parents and students are angry after a secondary school in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire banned students from raising their hands in the classrooms to answer a question, the Daily Mail reports.
Barry Found, who is the Principal at Samworth Church Academy, threw out the age-old practice by preventing his high school students from raising their hands in the classroom if they happen to know the answer to a question. He says raising hands did not “challenge and support the learning of all.”
Instead of the secondary school students raising their hands, teachers in the classroom will randomly select a student to speak.
Parents became increasingly concerned about how the new policy will affect students. Some have stated that there are students dealing with anxiety and “it’s going to be awful for kids who are naturally anxious if they spend all their classes scared they will be picked, and if they don’t know the answer they might be ridiculed by other kids. Stupid idea, typical Samworth,” said parent Angela Osborne.
Osborne added, “I understand that they [Samworth Church Academy] are trying to improve their Ofsted rating, but I feel that they have lost something a lot more important.”
One student told his parent that he is disappointed, adding that he “fears being chosen randomly if he doesn’t know the answer but equally won’t get the opportunity to raise his hand when he does know the answer,” according to the student’s mother Lucinda King.
The National Union of Teachers stated that Samworth Church Academy’s new policy “shows a lack of respect to staff at the school.”
In a letter, Found explained to parents why he opted to ban students from raising their hand in the classroom. He said, “We have taken the decision at the academy to dispense with the age old ‘hands up to answer a question’ practice.”
“We find that the same hands are going up and as such the teaching does not challenge and support the learning of all,” the letter continued.
“From Monday, November 28, hands will only be raised in the academy to establish silence for listening (the students are very used to this practice and are brilliant at it).”
“We will use a variety of other techniques to ensure that every student is challenged and developed in class through our questioning and that every student has opportunities to contribute and participate.”
The secondary school principal’s explanation wasn’t good enough as parents expressed just how “bizarre” the new school policy is, and adding that it is a “step backward” in education.
One parent stated that the principal’s decision was only about “gimmicks” and not about the education of their children.
The National Union of Teachers spokesperson, Jane Crich, stated that “any professional teacher should be trusted to teach a particular topic in a particular style according to the class they have. I don’t know if there was a discussion before the decision was made but it shows a lack of respect to the teachers at the school.”
“Teachers are never backward in discussing new educational techniques but banning one from the classroom is strange.”
Michael McKeever, who is head of the Trinity School in Aspley, Nottingham, said, “It is totally unnecessary because a good teacher wouldn’t go back to the same person, you make sure everyone in the classroom is engaged.”
“This is an issue of teacher professionalism, not a rule change. It’s a bit gimmicky in my opinion,” Mckeever continued.
“Putting your hand up is showing enthusiasm if you’re suppressing that then it’s not good.”
“If the reason is that the same children are always putting their hand up then the issue is the teacher and their methods.”
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