Nicco Kunzmann


A Comment on Raising Hands

A Comment on Raising Hands

When I read this article “Your Hand’s Not Raised? Too Bad: I’m Calling on You Anyway” by Alfie Kohn, I also watched the video about school children talking about the practice of raising hands.

What was interesting to me, is, that the children proposed several models:

There is also several kids saying that the discussion should be kept “under control”.

Refelection in a self-organized classroom

My question is: How in this setting can we have a discussion of maximum understanding? With maximum understanding I mean: I say something, you say what you understood, you say, whether this was my intention and accept it or rephrase it. It seems to be possible to do that: Once a person said something, we can have someone reflect it back.

Is reflecting back only necessary in conflict situations? Mostly it is, when we want to be sure, other people understood us. If you are very keen on telling something you think, you might want to have other kids reflect back to you what you just said.

A: What do you think?
B answers: I think …
A: Would you like to have it reflected back? Who would you like to have it relect back?
B: yes, anyone A: Who would like to reflect back?
raising hands B chooses
C: I think, B said … Is that true?
B enters a new round or agrees

This way, we can construct a self-organized classroom discussion. While refecting back, new questions will arise. The last person having spoken may have a question to ask or if not asks the question: “Who else has a question?”.

Back to the video

Don’t be a spotlight hawk. If you interrupt: be polite, let them talk. Be polite, be considerate.

These are some rules the kids put up. Thus, I assume, they are ligitmate.

Whose Questions?

In Kohns article “Who’s Asking?”, I read that having questions posed by the students puts them behind the question and unleashes their intrinsic motivation. The setting outlined above can be one which creates new student questions and helpes the class guide themselves.