Hands Down: Banishing questioning from schools

“All and all you’re just another brick in the Wall”

What is deemed a ‘Classroom Experiment’ in England, using methods that were tested on 25 pupils at Hertswood school in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire for one term has come to the lofty conclusion that students achieve better results when they keep their hands down in class.  This ‘experiment’ which has no control group, no peer review and no rationality will be aired on BBC2 in Britain as if it were true.  This of course should make those in power very happy for the questioning mind is what they hate most.  Amidst all their double talk about how students need to think critically it seems that developing a questioning mind is not part of the process.

In what the Mailonline, a decrepit rag out of Britain reports is that:

“In a remarkable experiment, a class of 13-year-olds learned twice as quickly when they were not allowed to put their hands up in response to a teacher’s question” (Hands down everybody! Pupils ‘learn twice as fast’ when banned from raising arms to answer questions, David Derbyshire, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1309268/Banning-children-putting-hands-class-makes-children-learn-twice-fast.html#ixzz0yiCVku3k ).

The ‘remarkable experiment’ of course runs into problems with the age old philosophy of helping students develop self-questioning instead of self-righteousness; to learn to develop the habits of a  questioning mind instead of an officiated one; to engage in Socratic questioning instead of mere questioning for information to be memorized. 

Never mind, the sorcerers of the degradation of learning and teaching are now trying to smuggle into the classroom ‘crowd control’ by offering up this slop as if it were truth.  From the point of view of both the Daily Mail and the ‘remarkable experiment’, banning children from raising their hands in class improves their academic performance.

What the ‘experiment’ found was that forgetting about questioning is how students learn.  So what do the students do instead?

“Instead, the entire class was forced to write answers on small whiteboards and raise their answers in the air together” (ibid).

Professor Dylan Wiliam, deputy director of the London University Institute for Education, who led the project, said:

‘The kids and teachers hated it at the beginning.  The kids who were used to having a quiet time were rattled at having to do something; the ones who were used to showing off to the teacher were upset” (ibid).

Professor Wiliam said he wanted to stop the minority of bright pupils dominating the class and to encourage the whole class to take responsibility for their behavior – by questioning as a herd.  What a great way to encourage obedience training.  Just tell kids they cannot ask or answer questions unless they herd like cattle.

Oh, but there is more to the ‘remarkable experiment’ than just destroying a student’s ability to develop critical thinking skills and Socratic questioning skills:

“The teacher also monitored a single pupil’s behavior each day – without telling the class which student was being placed under scrutiny – and then offered a reward of a day at Alton Towers if the student behaved” (ibid).

The move was intended, according to the remarkable ‘experimenters’ to encourage the whole group to take responsibility for earning the reward.  Remember ‘whole language’?  Now it is whole group thinking that is encouraged.  Why?  Simple, critical thinking is subversive.

Wiliam even went so far as to state:

“I hope this programme shows how difficult high-quality teaching is” (ibid).

Sure, for quality teaching is now little more than crowd control and helping students learn how not to think, not encouraging them to think.  This would simply be too much for education — after all the purpose of education now is for students to learn how to follow directions and command and control does not like questioning.  Hierarchy is what students need to learn in order to adjust their lives for the ruination that spells itself on the blackboard as ‘CAPITALISM’. 

Wiliam when on to bluster noting that:

“Teachers were given clear strategies for improvements which didn’t involve spending lots of money on new technology” (ibid).

Nor did it involve any thinking. 

If Socrates was alive today he would be drugged with Ritalin, placed in a special education class, written-up for zero-tolerance policies and eventually expelled – the hemlock of education – into exile in some juvenile corrections camp or prison.

How sad it is to see the vicious turn in educational ‘experiments’ and the idiocy of the conclusions that are then handed to an uncritical media and shoved into the minds of viewers.  Mental ‘wedgies’ are what parade as teaching and learning now. 

The students who are told not to raise their hands will one day go on to ‘teach’ others to do the same.  Monkey see, monkey do is the educational agenda all over the Western world as the rulers now assume the mantel of ‘best practices’ and call the shots for society and our children.  The result will be further rot, further illiteracy and further inequality and hierarchy.  All good for the ruling class.

Don’t think, don’t raise your hand, never question unless in a group and for God’s sake do not disagree or engage in a learning conversation whereby one balances ‘advocacy with inquiry’.  Inquiry is no good now, unless you torture for a living and of course this is what is being done to our children as the lights go off on wonderment and inquiry and childhood changes back into the grueling task of learning to obey one’s masters.  And these elites really think that they can get away with it?  Teachers leave the kids alone!

As I have noted before, it is time to sharpen the guillotines.  We have already lost generations of children to the ‘remarkable’ prevaricators and monsters who think it is ok to ‘bully’ students and teachers; to cage them like veal, but never encourage either of them to think.  Any society that advocates this sordid conclusion is either dead or about to lose ‘the ghost’. 

“All and all we’re just another brick in the wall” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Py5aPLG348).