A school in the UK has told students to quit raising hands in class. Instead, when they want to be called upon, they can—resting their hands on their desks—give a thumbs up.
As the Telegraph reports, the headteacher at the school explains:
It is to stop the pupils waving arms about, which can be distracting. It has calmed the pupils down. Staff have noticed a positive difference in the amount of people answering questions.
We’re all for calmer classrooms and making sure everyone gets a chance to contribute, but why is a child more likely to give the thumbs up if the end result is still that they’ll be called upon? They either like the attention, or they don’t—the way they get (or don’t get) that attention seems moot. And if you can ask kids to use the thumbs up instead, why not just ask them to stop waving their arms around, if it really is so disruptive?
This whole thing seems like a misapplication of energy—we like ideas that actually have an impact on learning and retention. As the Globe and Mail reports:
A British experiment, conducted as part of a BBC documentary, found that students learned twice as fast when they were asked to write their answers on a white board and then lift them up to the teacher as a group.
Now that’s an idea we’ll give the thumbs up.