Why this is so common makes no sense when you think about it carefully.
Generally speaking, why has that student raised their hand?
Probably because they know the answer.
Therefore, the question is not challenging this student.
It does allow the teacher to check the knowledge of the student but only this single student.
Similarly, why haven’t the other students raised their hands?
Probably because they either don’t know the answer or they are not confident to share their answer.
This allows these students to be passive and disengaged from the learning.
Even with these two simple points highlighted this strategy is clearly not effective for most situations when questioning in being used.
Instead, teachers should adopt a ‘no hands up’ policy in their lessons.
This way, teachers have a few options for how they can use questions in their lessons to engage all students and enhance the level of stretch and challenge they achieve.
Teachers can use a mix of direct and undirected questions to ensure they have control over which students answer.
Instead of asking single students single questions, a better way to manage this scenario would be to put students in pairs or groups and ask all students to think about the question being posed.
Students can then feedback their responses and meaningful discussions can emerge.
If you are interested in finding out what my favourite questioning techniques are you should check our the article above.