"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." ~ Thomas Paine
This morning I woke up and had a topic for today's blog post all set in my head. Then as I began my normal morning routine of reading my Feedly and Zite feeds I came across an article that really got me thinking. It takes me about 25 minutes to drive to work and the entire ride all I could think about was the article and the impact it could have on students. The title of the article was Some Aussie schools ban students from raising hands in class, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.
This method of teaching was developed following some research that found that smarter students answer the vast majority of questions, which has been dubbed "The Hermoine Granger Effect," after the extroverted bookworm in the Harry Potter series. This gives teachers the impression that the entire classroom is following the lesson at the same pace. So instead of asking questions and students raising their hands to answer, now teachers are pulling a random name, written on an ice-cream stick, out of a bucket.
This method has created some controversy and I can understand why. On the surface it does seem a bit extreme. The intent behind it may have some merit, but will it really help the struggling student, or will it just discourage them even more. I've been in classrooms where teachers use the same method, but never for the entire day, only at certain times. For me this evokes an image of a class of disengaged learners, where nobody seems excited to learn or express themselves. I believe that teachers know their students. They use a variety of assessment tools to determine student achievement as whether they need additional support. I've often said that our provincial testing won't tell a classroom teacher anything they don't already know. They will know the students that need support. Why not leave it up to their professional judgement on when and how they support those learners?
When I think of a classroom that I want for my daughter I envision a classroom where the teacher cares about all students, regardless of ability, where success is celebrated no matter how big or small, where inquiry is the centrepiece of the classroom, where outdoor learning is valued and where technology tools are used appropriately and with purpose.
I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the article and the potential impact it might have on all students.