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    Some Australian schools ban students from raising hands in class
    English.news.cn 2015-06-05 11:32:50
    Some Victorian schools are adopting a teaching method which bans students from raising their hands to answer a question.

    Teachers are finding that top students are answering a lot more questions than pupils who struggle in the classroom, inadvertently widening the gap between the higher and lower performing students.

    The method of teaching was created after experts found smarter students were answering the vast majority of questions, something which has been dubbed "The Hermione Granger Effect," after the extroverted bookworm depicted in British author J.K Rowling's popular Harry Potter novel series.

    Experts are saying that by having the smarter children answer all the questions, some teachers are under the illusion that the entire classroom is following the lesson at the same pace.

    Educators at one high school in Melbourne are choosing students to answer questions by pulling a random name, written on an ice- cream stick, out of a bucket.

    Sarah Lefebvre from Frankston High School told Fairfax Media on Friday that the new method allowed students that didn't know answers to seek help from other students and the teacher more confidently.

    "We want kids to have the skills to know how to act if they face a situation that they're not prepared for," she said.

    "We put them on the spot and if they're not prepared, they need to know how to ask for help and assistance. You can't just say: 'I 'm opting out'."

    Other schools around Melbourne, including Toorak College, are trialing similar strategies.

    But the method did have teething problems, according to Lefebvre, when she started trialing the ice-cream sticks, the brighter students were getting frustrated while quieter pupils became more anxious.

    Australia's Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson slammed the method when he spoke to 3AW radio on Thursday.

    He said the method was "ridiculous" and that teachers needed to spend more time with struggling students instead of discouraging the smarter children.

    "The idea that you're going to stop kids putting up their hands and answering questions... Sure, share it around," Wilson said.

    "(But) when I was at school, if you didn't put your hand up often enough, the teacher picked you out of the class and said you have to answer the question.

    "It's a silly idea, in my opinion."

    The method was devised by British education expert Professor Dylan William, who documented the method in a television show called "The Classroom Experiment" in 2010.
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