School Bans Students From Raising Their Hands in Class (Yes, Really)

Kids in classroom
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Most of us can think back to our days in school when common rules included always going to the bathroom before class, no chewing gum, and no cell phones -- depending on whether or not you're a millennial. Well times have definitely changed as one UK school has decided to ban students from raising their hands in class. Um, yeah ...

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The Samworth Church Academy in Mansfield, England, which, ironically, uses a logo with scholars raising their hands in the air, has prohibited its students from alerting teachers they know the answer with a raised hand. Why? They say they want to ensure that all kids in class are challenged and have an opportunity to participate.

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Barry Found, the principal at Samworth Church Academy, sent aletter home to parents that says, in part:

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.

Is it just me, or did anyone else picture that scene from The Walking Dead where Negan walks by each character with his bat before he decides who will "be the chosen one"? (Don't pick me. Don't pick me!)

Talk about nerve-wracking -- especially if you're a shy person who doesn't like speaking in front of a lot of people!

As understandable as it is for a school to want to create a space that promotes equal participation and inclusion, I can't help but think banning students from raising their hands is a radical idea that won't work.

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I guess you could say I was one of the kids who caused this ban as I constantly had my hand raised to answer questions -- unless it was something science-related (not my subject). But even then, I can't remember any of my teachers saying "No one is allowed to raise their hands because Tanvier and others won't put theirs down" out of frustration. If anything, they just randomly called on someone as they didn't give a flip who they put on the spot. (Do your homework, kids.)

Maybe this "ban" will work. Maybe kids who feel they aren't able to get a word in will finally have a say.

... It just sounds a bit off to me, like it won't inspire kids to have confidence in sharing their answers or taking the initiative anymore to do so.

Even the National Union of Teachers in the UK seems to be scratching its head at this decision. ITV News reports Jane Crich, a spokesperson for the organization, says, "Any professional teacher should be trusted to teach a particular topic in a particular style according to the class they have." She continues:

Teachers are never backwards in discussing new educational techniques but banning one from the classroom is strange. 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.

Yeah! What she said.

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ITV News also reports some moms and dads with students attending the school appear to be speaking out -- and not in support of banning raised hands.

"Surely a teacher can ask other children to answer without the need to 'ban' putting up of hands? Some kids don't want to be put on the spot, and it's ok to be quiet or shy," mentions one parent.

"My son told me about this last week and he is disappointed about it as 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," says another.

Time will tell whether or not this ban gets an A or a big fat F. At least for now, it looks like students will have to hush up and see if they can find a way to get their teacher's attention to get called on that doesn't require lifting up a hand.

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