Using the “No hands up” Rule and Maintaining Productive Beliefs about Teaching and Learning Mathematics.
The “No hands up” rule is a great one to consider establishing right at the beginning of a new school year. Without such a rule in place many students will not engage since they are confident they can stop thinking since the teacher will only call on those with raised hands. Students who have their hand up may also stop thinking as they already have their answer prepared. A “No hands up” rule encourages everyone to keep thinking as students know that anyone may be called upon to respond. Banning the “raise your hand if you know the answer” mentality allows for more students to share their thinking and to remain engaged during whole class discussions. Instead of facing a forest of waving hands to call on try this: When it is time for whole class discussions and you have posed a question to think about, first require students to talk about their ideas in pairs or teams. Walk around and listen to their conversations. Select and order specific students or teams whose thinking you want shared when discussion begins. Ask them as they are working in teams if they are willing to share. In this way you can ensure that each and every student has air time and feels that his/her thinking is valued in the math classroom. This strategy allows you to assign status to students who typically do not participate in class discussions.
And finally today - here is a reminder of a productive belief about teaching and learning mathematics from the book Principles to Actions (NCTM 2014).
“The role of the teacher is to engage students in tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving and facilitate discourse that moves students toward shared understanding of mathematics.”
The “No hands up” rule will help ensure that understanding is truly shared.