Some Observations of the Thai Classroom #4 – The Know-it-all.


The Know-it-all can come in two breeds; the cute and enthusiastic or the ‘you are not worthy of my knowledge’ type.  I guess you can tell which one is more annoying to have in your class.

Ask any question, pose any lexical conundrum to the class, and this student will shout out the answer before their classmates have had the chance to comprehend what is being asked of them.  “Raise your hands, please”; the teacher tries to maintain some level of control over the Know-it-all’s outbursts, only to find that they are the only kid to sit, straining their arm above their head, fingers waggling in excited anticipation of being correct, once again.

Fellow students groan at their never ending knowledge.  Teachers try their hardest to direct questions away from them.  “Anyone other than [insert name of Know-it-all] like to give it a go? … No?”  Their position as lead in answering questions and always being the first to finish is firmly set in place.  It becomes the teacher’s objective to not only congratulate the clever child, but to keep them grounded and try to let the other students try for themselves.

Maybe they are naturally good at languages.  Maybe they are extremely studious.  Perhaps their parents can’t afford to put them on a higher level of academic programme.  Private lessons on evenings and weekends often have a part to play.

Extra work is brought to class by the teacher, their key objective of occupy the Know-it-all put into action.  A premature “Teacher, finished!” is met with yet another worksheet, each increasing in difficulty.  Maybe this one will be the one to break the know it all.

The teacher lives for the day when the Know-it-all is stumped by something.  Not that we like to see the students fail, but just for them to be challenged by something and for their classmates to see that the Know-it-all can sometimes get stuck too – they really are human after all.

Do you have a Know-it-all in one of your classes?  How do you keep them occupied and control their ever-raising hand?

This is part of a series of ‘Some Observations of the Thai Classroom’ posts.  See below for my previous entries.

Some Observations of the Thai Classroom #1 – The Buffalo Boy

Some Observations of the Thai Classroom #2 – Keen Bean

Some Observations of the Thai Classroom #3 – The Monkey Boys


6 thoughts on “Some Observations of the Thai Classroom #4 – The Know-it-all.

  1. Being ‘shot down’ by a teacher early in my school career put an end to my know it all days. I rarely put my hand up again.

    1. Oh no, but that’s not good! It’s a case of finding the balance between recognising their knowledge, keeping them stimulated and giving other kids a chance. Don’t want to shoot them down!

      1. They were the days ( 50’s ) when it was a case of shut up and learn. We had been shown a short film on Stephenson and his steam engine. It depicted Stephenson holding his hand over the spout of a boiling kettle and the lid lifting. I thought about this overnight, and the next day I informed the teacher that he would have burned his hand badly. Wouldn’t he have used something else? Not the done thing and he ridiculed me severely. Definitely a quick lesson in shutting up.

      2. I guess the teacher didn’t like being shown up… or he was afraid that if he didn’t stifle your mind there and then you may turn out to be the head of a classroom revolt…! Such a shame your perfectly valid point was dealt with like that – and it obviously had an effect on you as you still remember it today.

      3. I imagine not many adults like to be shown up by little kids. he did become the victim of a sneaky spit ball campaign though. Yep, never forgot that one. 🙂

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