Latest education advice criticised

SUFFOLK residents have today slammed a new government report stating teachers should not ask children to put their hands up in class.The report, carried out by ministers, states that quiet children may fall behind if classes are conducted by a hands-up question answering scheme.

SUFFOLK residents have today slammed a new government report stating teachers should not ask children to put their hands up in class.

The report, carried out by ministers, states that quiet children may fall behind if classes are conducted by a hands-up question answering scheme.

But in a survey conducted by The Evening Star only one person thought the idea would be beneficial to children.

The government research identified a group of youngsters who struggle to keep up with their classmates between the ages of seven and 11, despite doing well in previous years.

Ministers published a report advising schools how to help these so-called "invisible children", who often try to avoid drawing attention to themselves during lessons.

Their work is neat and they are generally well behaved but children "in the comfort zone' need a different approach from teachers to help them make progress, the report found.

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Education Secretary Alan Johnson said: “We need to make sure that no-one is left behind at any point - from the most gifted and talented children at the top of the class, to the quiet child who is well-practised at hiding from the teacher's gaze at the back of the class.”

The report found that it is often boys who fall behind in English at primary school, while girls were more likely to be found among those struggling to make progress in maths.

Teachers felt that children suffered because parents stopped helping with homework when maths, in particular, was becoming too complicated.

The government recommended a range of strategies which teachers could use in the classroom to help these children.

The methods included choosing which child to question in class instead of inviting all the pupils to put up their hands if they know the answer.

Children could also be given 30 seconds "thinking time' before being asked to answer or told to discuss questions in pairs before answering, the Department for Education said.

Martin Rondell, 38, of Christchurch Street, Ipswich, said: “It is a bit of a ridiculous idea. I had to put my hand up at school and it didn't harm me. It is a question of participation.”

Jamie Versey, 37, of Valley Walk, Felixstowe, said: “It is bonkers. The idea encourages kids to mix and have their own opinion. That is what teaching is all about.”

Andrew Rodge, 52, of Akenham Close, Ipswich, said: “I would prefer children to be asked at random. When the same children put their hands up all the time it prevents others from having their say.”

Tony Slater, 39, of Hollesley, said: “It is clearly wrong. People should be able to put their hands up. The government are interfering with schools a bit too much.”

Sian Bryan, 40, of Martlesham, said: “How else are children supposed to communicate with teachers in a quiet way if they are not allowed to put their hands up. Children have always been taught in this way and it would be very confusing to change it half-way through their school experience.”

Hannah Sander, 59, of Tostock, said: “I am not originally from the UK but one reason I came here was because the country had a lot of common sense. That is disappearing quickly now. The idea of raising hands promotes competition, something which is vital in the world outside schools.”

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