Catherine Fraser

Primary Teacher

Carnbroe Primary School

  • Assessment For Learning

What happens when a ‘no hands approach’ is used in the Classroom?


Dylan Wiliam states that there are five “key strategies” when in a teaching and learning environment. These are: being clear of where the learner is going, be clear about where they are and establish how to get there. The teacher thinks of the role of themselves, the other peers in the classroom and the individual learner. As I was motivated to combine and implement these key strategies with my class, I chose to use lollipop sticks.

Whilst in the classroom, it is evident that certain children tend to lose attention whilst in a teaching and learning environment which could be due to various factors, including their social background and associated variables which occur out with the school environment. Particularly, within my class, it is evident that children with ‘different’ backgrounds fall into the ‘category’ of relying on others to answer questions in class and therefore this leads to less confidence and self-belief in the individuals. The Scottish Government has a focus on “Closing the Attainment Gap” for the Scottish Attainment Challenge, underpinned by The National Improvement Framework (The Scottish Government, 2016).

By ensuring that the children within the classroom are given ‘individual accountability’ – defined by Laal, Geranpaye and Daemi (2013) as “the belief that everyone will be accountable for her/his performance and learning” – when being questioned by the teacher, it was assumed that each child would focus on the questioning and produce an answer based on this. This would give children who have not previously been fully engaged with direct teaching – and generally within a teaching and learning environment – the opportunity to feel more confident and appreciate that their answers have value. This, therefore, was hoped to improve confidence during direct teaching and subsequently improve the quality of follow up tasks.


The aims of this Professional Enquiry were to:

  • distinguish whether or not a no-hands up approach benefits the children within the classroom who are reluctant to answer aloud in a group situation
  • identify whether a no-hands up approach encourages children to think independently
Download Practitioner Enquiry