Ask a teacher

15th December 2006 at 00:00
Q I have a girl in my Year 6 class who, whatever task is set, immediately puts her hand up and says she doesn't understand. I have been making a real effort to explain tasks in several different ways and she still tells me she doesn't understand. She is bright and can cope. What can I do?

Shelley, Cumbria

A How about "I'm stuck" cards. You give the child three cards and they can only have help in the lesson from an adult if they use a card. When the cards are used up, the help is used up. You have to be tough at first, but they soon only ask for help when it's really needed. Also, tell all pupils that you are willing to check their work when they have done the first part of the task, but not before. Use the time to observe the class working - it's amazing what you pick up.

Jo, Somerset

A This happened to me once. I mentioned it in the staff room and was told to ignore the child, she was a well-known attention seeker.

Olivia, Worcester

A Is this new behaviour? Check with her Year 5 teacher. If so, how is her hearing eyesight? Are there any problems at home? If all of these are OK, could you offer her a "supportive" partner or a prompt sheet to get her going and build her confidence?

Lynda Parker, Huyton with Roby C of E Primary, Liverpool

A I have a list of pupils on the wall who are class experts for different things - spelling, listening to instructions, art work, finding resources.

If a child is stuck, the rule is they must ask at least three children in the class before asking you, and one of them could be the expert. I usually change the experts every couple of weeks to give the children a break. This is great for the self-esteem of the experts too.

Laura Moore, Hotspur Primary, Newcastle upon Tyne

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