Monday, September 06, 2010

But what about the bright kids

This study brought back some unhappy memories.

Children learn more quickly if the brightest are prevented from putting their hands up

Those who are less willing to answer teachers' questions rapidly switch off when a minority dominate, according to Professor Dylan Wiliam, deputy director of the Institute of Education at London University.

He is pioneering an alternative technique in which all children in a class are made to answer questions, by writing their answers on small white boards they are given. They then reveal their answers simultaneously to the teacher.

The article has some reasonable suggestions, but it all brings back the bad feeling I had as a kid. The teacher wouldn't call on me because she knew that I knew the answer. I would pretend not to pay attention in hopes of getting called on. It was so frustrating to know the answer and have to sit through the discussion and not be permitted to speak.


Mrs. C said...

I LIKE the whiteboard idea. You could pretend you're on Jeopardy or something. :)

Luke said...

I was totally one of the kids not allowed to answer...

However, there was an upside from figuring out this game: I would always raise my hand early on in the year when everything was easy and we were just getting going. That way, by the end of the year, the teacher assumed I knew everything and wouldn't bother calling on me anymore.

Worked like a charm all the way through college.


Fatcat said...

Oh, but then there's my kid who knows all the answers to all the science and math questions, but can't write on the white board because he has dysgraphia ....

Let's just keep 'em home.


Sebastian said...

I had a high school teacher tell me not to come to class the rest of the week so that other people in German would have to answer questions.
Can't say that I thought much of the class after that.
I can see that some kids would not want to answer if they didn't think they were "bright", but you also have smart kids who keep quiet because they don't want to stand out.
There are lots of good classroom practices designed to keep more people answering. Answering questions on the board was an old school technique. I had an ed school prof who had stacks of student names on index cards. He'd flip through them, asking questions, then shuffle the stack so that no one knew when their name was going to come up.

Sara said...

Sometimes it's the subtle stuff we don't even realize that impacts our kids in school each day. This story highlights for me the idea that all kids are different and not all are going to react or feel the same way in the same place. Where some excel, others quietly suffer. Good to reflect on sometimes.