harry wong's quieting technique.. WHEN I HOLD UP MY HAND!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by traeh, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    How many of you have used the Harry Wong technique of holding up one hand in the air to get the students to be quiet? Rate its effectiveness?
     
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  3. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    8+/10 It works fine. I just dont like it. If I was in elem I would use it but middle schoolers are a "different breed" so I just get ready to teach and wait for them instead of putting up my hand.
     
  4. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Well I'm teaching high schoolers, so I guess you just answered my question. What grade did Harry Wong teach by the way?
     
  5. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    Science
     
  6. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    Oh sorry I didnt read your post right. He taught all grades Elem thru HS
     
  7. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Okay. So what do you do if the kids don't get quiet even after waiting several minutes? I'm just thinking of scenarios that might occur as I haven't started yet...
     
  8. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    My principal uses this in our high school (7th - 12th grade), the kids understand and they might think it's childish for them, but when he does it, they know what it means and they get quiet. I have not used in my classroom (7/8 grade) but I'm thinking of starting it this year.
     
  9. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    The first time is usually the last time. (something like this but it changes depending on the group)
    I "explain" to them... "YOU are wasting OUR time and not allowing US to do OUR jobs in favor of socializing. So to be fair you are going to do your jobs during our socializing time, doing this ..some sort of assignment... and it is due tomorrow along with today's planned work we no longer have time to do in class because of your decision to socialize." This usually ends it and I go on with the lesson and the planned work. (This is the only time I use "homework" as a punishment)
     
  10. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    I haven't had too many problems with this yet, usually I just start talking and they quiet down. If not I go "FIVE... FOUR... three... two".. until they get quiet. I told them that "their 6 minutes in the hall is precious to them, my 50min. is precious to me.. if you take away my time, I take away yours"
    BUT I teach freshmen
     
  11. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I would give it a 3 probably. I don't find that it works. and I HATE it when administrators use it in workshops with adults. And I realize how childish I find it and I dont use it with my kids.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For me, an "Excuse me!" in my "teacher voice" usually does the trick.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We use the "hands up" in assemblies and it works very well with such a large group.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I just tell them that I'd like their attention, and it works almost all the time. When it doesn't, there are bigger issues at work and it tells me that I need to crack down on some behavior problems ASAP.

    Like another poster, I also feel like the technique is very demeaning when it's used on us adults at professional development events. I absolutely cannot stand it and it makes me feel grumpy. The same thing goes for the two arms raised in a V and then slowly lowered to the speaker's sides as we get quiet. Ugh. I'm an adult and a professional, and I would just appreciate being told that the speaker needs my attention.
     
  15. history_girl_au

    history_girl_au Rookie

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    In my school the favoured technique to get a class to settle is to turn off the lights one at a time (as most classrooms have 3 separate switches - It does get their attention - but it also depends on the teacher.
     
  16. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I do think it's quite effective in large groups. I've used it for 30 years for the large groups of 4-Hers I've worked with at camp and other places. It's certainly not a new technique.
     
  17. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Today was the first time I used the hand raised method and it worked ok. I'm hoping it gets better. I teach gr.7.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't use it in the classroom, but I do agree at assemblies it works well. If the students are working in groups and I need them to focus on me I count down (5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 Voices)...it gives them a few seconds to at least finish their sentences. If I am just starting class there is no need, as they know to go silent.
     
  19. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Same for me.

    Sometimes I just stand silently at the front of the room and wait until they are quiet. They know by the look on my face that I am not happy, and the consequences will not be good. They do not waste much time becoming attentive students.
     
  20. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    We use it school wide in our middle school, and it's 99.9% effective. Some years I have that ONE CLASS that just doesn't respond to anything much. For those classes I count the seconds that it takes to quiet down, and then I "collect" my time elsewhere. One year a group collected 10 minutes, and I collected my time at the end of a movie. They were NOT happy with me, but I made my point . . . and they were better from then on.

    I takes my classes this year an average 2-3 seconds to quiet down after I raise my hand.
     
  21. Ms.S60074

    Ms.S60074 Rookie

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    We use the sign language sign for 'quiet'...looks like you are about to pinch something with your thumb and index finger. Works well and not as insulting as the 'gimme five' hand.
     
  22. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    I use it exactly as Imateacher does - as such, it's very effective. We teach outside regularly and often phys ed is in multi-class groups; we find raising our hand is effective when you're on a windy oval with 100 kids to quieten at once!

    As someone said, it's an old method but effective in its place.
     
  23. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    If the class is noisy (7th & 8th graders) then I look at the clock. I count the seconds they "waste" talking. Then at the end of the class they have to stand behind their desks silently after the bell rings to make up that amount of time. After a couple of times all I have to do is turn around and look at the clock and they quiet down. It is a group punishment which is supposed to be bad...but if the whole group is misbehaving that makes sense, right?
     
  24. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    I have tried using the hand thing with my class this year. I think if I train them more, then it would be more effective. Like the other person, some things I find very effective is counting backwards- 5...4...3, etc. They're usually quiet before I get to one. Other times I just stand there and wait. I also use a bell when they are doing group work and that shuts them up real quick. I nip the talking in the bud as soon as they come in the door. If they come in talking, they go back outside and try it again. When I have trouble is when we are doing math and I tell them to get out supplies, or packing up, transitioning, etc. They can't seem to do that without voices.Yesterday we did a group activity and it was LOUD! We had a competition of who could make these five pieces of paper fit the fish pattern in their textbooks. Oh My God! The kids were debating and arguing over which way the pieces went, and they got so excited when they THOUGHT they got the pattern, and screamed for me to rush over to their group. I mean, it was learning noise, and excitement, but sheeesh! Before we do another lab activity in science, I am going to go over routine and we'll practice group voices. They had a blast though.
     
  25. lisapoet

    lisapoet Rookie

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    I've tried it and HATE it. I raise my hand, and my 8th graders make eye contact with me and keep right on talking. I'm probably in the minority here, but I think Harry Wong is an idiot.
     
  26. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    Lisapoet, there needs to be a consequence for those who don't follow the instruction, as for any other behaviour situation. In my class, raising my hand is the same as me telling the kids to be quiet - if they intentionally disregard my instruction (ie look at me and ignore the signal) then their names go on the board. You only need to do this for the first few days and they get it pretty quickly, but like all things, you have to expect the behaviour you want. If you expect the signal to fail, it will.

    By the way, until I got on this list I'd never heard of Harry Wong, and I've still not seen any of his stuff directly. He's virtually unknown in Australia (but the hand signal for silence has been around for at least 20 years that I know of!)
     
  27. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    What do you do after you write their names on the board?
     
  28. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    It seems a bit silly calling another fellow teacher an idiot who's just trying to share ideas on how to help manage your class. Just my two :2cents:
     
  29. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm not the person that wrote the suggestion, but for us a name and tally mark equals 1 min for each tally mark. They don't tend to go pask 2-3 when I start this. The first time I do it I put 2 tally marks. Then I add 1 per incident. This is usually for chatting or inattentiveness. I deduct that many minutes from recess. I tend to reserve it for someone who is really having a hard time and resisting or when I need the entire class' attention. After all, losing recess all the time loses its effectiveness and they need it anyways. Technically this strategy can be used with an consequence you have available.

    Once I put the mark, I make slight eye contact so they know I'm doing it then I turn around and return to my lesson. I don't scold. If they ask, I tell them why. Otherwise I stay silent about it. If they are stubborn and return back to the activity, I might give a slight teacher look but then I silently make another mark. It can be quite effective. They have to know what it means. I explain it the first time. You have to follow through and personally I think it is a technique used best for certain behaviors and sparingly to maintain it's shock value. After all, if you said, "Johnny you miss 3 minutes of recess" most of them won't care much. If you start up a "score" then all of a sudden this visual thing has a cumulative meaning and that 3 minutes seems much more important. Strange but it works.
     
  30. Anyalee

    Anyalee Companion

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    What do you do about the kids who say "Put my name up on the board!" like little snots? I'm not sure how to handle that yet.
     
  31. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    here's my idea...

    Give them 100 pts for participation at the beginning of each quarter. This encompasses attentiveness, homework corrections, involvement in daily tasks. If they are being disruptive or sleeping or not doing work.. deduct points. They can't be acting up and simultaneously engaged in the learning process, so therefore they should have participation points taken away. If I call on someone and they say 'what what.. where are we..' I will sometimes say 'minus two' because they weren't paying attention/following along. This gets everyone's attention.
     
  32. lisapoet

    lisapoet Rookie

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    That's when I'd switch things up and make a name on the board a badge of honor... What would happen if you only ever put the names of the top students on the board? I'm thinking that would shut down the "little snots"
     
  33. lisapoet

    lisapoet Rookie

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    Ok, forgive me if this is a "no duh," but it sounds like you are saying I have no consequences for bad behavior. If my 8th graders don't follow directions, they don't get the lesson and their grades suffer. I'm NOT going to geg them to learn.

    If you write the name of an American teenager on the board as a consequence for bad behavior, they will laugh at you. That's the polite response. The rude kids will respond with "BFD" or some other vulgarity. I'm guessing that you teach elementary kids.

    The signal failed because I got tired of holding my hand in the air while the kids continued to talk. It isn't a realistic option for the grade level or social economic, cultural group I teach. I know what the signal means... they know what the signal means. They don't care about the signal or the consequences.

    I still say Harry Wong is an idiot.
     
  34. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Well, let me say that his ideas seem to work for elementary school. Yay idiot Harry!!!
     
  35. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I agree. Harry Wong is just that...

    What do you do when the kids put their hands up and keep talking?
     
  36. lisapoet

    lisapoet Rookie

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    I don't do the hands up thing... but if all my cues to be silent have failed, I use my best "teacher voice" and say to the chatty kid: "Since what you have to say is clearly more important than what I'd like to teach, please come up front and share it with everyone."

    That usually buys me about a month of good behavior.
     
  37. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think some of what Harry Wong suggests are good ideas. I read his book every year before the start of school. But I agree that his "Give Me Five" may not work for every class, especially if the class is chatty. What teacher is going to stand at the front of the room with their hand in the air until if falls asleep?!?
     
  38. lisapoet

    lisapoet Rookie

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    Due to medical conditions, it only takes 10 seconds for my arm to go numb. Harry Wong Once said "learning should ot be fun" that was all I needed to stop listening. I respect your right to like him so, please respect my right to think he's an idiot. Stop trying to sell him to me. His theories are clearly suited for the elementary level, and I teach secondary.
     
  39. msb

    msb Rookie

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    I've had difficult students (really bad) before, and I've done the countdown. HOWEVER, I also took time away from them, too. For my tough kids last year, I took minutes away. Every minute they wasted, I wrote the time on the board. I used an overhead timer so they could see how many minutes were left. I told them if I heard them I would restart it. I followed through when they did.

    They also knew after waiting for one minute after the bell rang, they had better quiet down. They couldn't stand taking time away from their precious 4 or 5 minutes between passing periods because it took time away from their socializing. Peer pressure really worked, too in those instances. I only had to hold them at the longest three minutes. I had a parent complain once, but I told them it wasn't five minutes; it was actually one minute after class. Technically, I could hold them over for 15 minutes after school with support from my school.

    This year, I'm at a different school; I have better behaved students and I can hold them only by seconds. It usually doesn't go longer than 20 or 30 seconds. They know when I start looking at my watch and stand in the front that they have to shush their neighbor to be quiet. I have both 7th and 8th graders, and it works really well for both levels. I almost have them trained to not even get up when the bell rings since they know that I dismiss them and not the bell. It takes a long time to train them though. So far, this has been pretty effective for me. Next quarter, I am thinking of using the Fred Jones method of PAT and see how that works.:)
     
  40. Cthdenver

    Cthdenver Rookie

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    Wow your lucky in my class they would came up to the front and actually start talking!!!!
     
  41. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'm not trying to sell him to you. People are entitled to their opinions about certain people's theories. I must have missed the part where he said learning should not be fun because I have never read that in his book (of course, most of the time I'm skimming!)
     

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