Shouting out in class 'helps pupils to learn'

Pupils in class Impulsive children who cannot resist shouting out in class score higher in tests, claims research

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Pupils who shout out in class achieve better results than their counterparts who appear to be better behaved and quiet, suggests research.

A study of primary school pupils found children who "blurt out" responses perform better in maths and English.

The Durham University study looked at 12,000 pupils in England.

"Although it may seem disruptive, blurting out of answers clearly helps these pupils to learn," said report co-author Christine Merrell.

The study, carried out by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University, compared English and maths test results with monitoring reports of pupils' behaviour.

'Impulsive' shouters

The study of children at 556 schools found those pupils who showed "impulsive" behaviour, such as being unable to resist shouting out to teachers in class, were more likely to achieve higher test results.

The findings run against the model of quiet, assiduous pupils - and it raises questions about how the enthusiasm of such demanding and noisy behaviour could be managed and controlled in a school.

Start Quote

Perhaps those children also benefit from receiving additional feedback and attention from their teacher”

End Quote Prof Peter Tymms Head of Durham University school of education

The study looked at a full range of pupils in state and independent schools - including those who were considered "inattentive" or who had symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder).

The researchers found that among this group, those who called out performed better in tests than similar children who remained quiet in class.

Children who were considered well-behaved and able to pay attention were more likely to be higher achievers than those who were inattentive.

But within this attentive group there was also the same pattern, with those who were not self-conscious about shouting out responses in class being more likely to have higher attainment.

The lead author of the research, Peter Tymms, head of Durham University's school of education, said that among children with ADHD symptoms, those who got excited and shouted out seemed to be more "cognitively engaged and as a result learn more".

"Perhaps those children also benefit from receiving additional feedback and attention from their teacher," suggested Prof Tymms.

Ms Merrell, CEM's director of research and development, said she wanted to carry out further studies to see how pupils could be encouraged to shout out as part of the lesson.

She said they might look at behaviour in settings where it was expected that children would participate by shouting out, such as at a pantomime or a puppet show.

They also needed to understand more about how these impulsive, quick-fire characteristics, which might sometimes be seen as disruptive, could be harnessed to improve results.

"We need to look more closely at this behaviour and how the interaction can be managed in the classroom."

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