It is really hard to ignore a pupil’s waving hand, especially if its accompanied by that endearing thing when they point at themselves with the other at the same time. Ignoring a child’s request for attention, especially if they want to ask a question, can feel like a betrayal of our core purpose.
Many of the children we teach seem to feel this way too, working themselves through annoyance to indignation and sometimes to outright fury if they feel they aren’t given the attention they believe they are entitled to whenever they want it. Whether it’s an absurd request to go the toilet five minutes after break or a sensible one about the meaning of a tricky word, many children I have taught have picked up the belief they have the right to be heard whenever they want to be.
But allowing questions at any time is a mistake and…
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