Pick me, miss! Why shouting out helps pupils learn

Children who yell out answers in class do better in tests, says surprising new study


Forget putting your hand up and patiently waiting for teacher to notice you. The latest research suggests unruly pupils who noisily “blurt out” answers in class achieve better results than their well-behaved schoolmates.


The findings, by boffins at Durham University, go against received wisdom that quieter children do best at school. The study looked at 12,000 pupils, aged 4 to 5, at 556 schools – including those who were considered “inattentive” or had symptoms of ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactive disorder) – and compared scores for English and Maths tests.

Results showed those pupils demonstrating “impulsive” behaviour, such as being unable to resist yelling out to teachers, were more likely to do well – with a 9-month advantage in reading skills.

“Although it may seem disruptive, blurting out answers clearly helps these pupils learn,” said lead researcher Peter Tymms, head of Durham University’s school of education.

He said children who got excited and spoke out, were more “cognitively engaged and as a result learn more” – and their enthusiasm could spread to other pupils. While boys were more likely to shout out answer than girls, the research found speaking out of turn was beneficial for both sexes.

Of course, teachers struggling to control noisy classes may beg to differ – but the surprising study now raises questions about how schools should best manage challenging behaviour.

What do you think – do loud children do better in school?

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