Noisy Kids do Better at School, Claim Durham Scientists

Revelatory study identifies disruptive students as best.

durham durham one Education Noisy

There was a time back in those halcyon days of primary school, when past-me, a precocious lad with a terrible bowl-cut, would receive stern tellings-off from the teacher for shouting out the answers to class-wide questions.

Being fair, they were probably right to do it. I was an insufferable little git at the best of times, often attentive but always disruptive.

Put simply, I didn’t believe in putting up my hand to answer a question; questions are there to be answered with words, not with arbitrary arm-raising.

Indeed, conventional wisdom disagreed with my 8-year-old self; the best pupils were those who were attentive, but above all, quiet and well-behaved.

Yet conventional wisdom has been apparently smashed by scientists at the Durham School of Education.

The team from Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, headed by lead author of the report Peter Tymms, found that pupils with ADHD-style symptoms who got excited in classrooms and shouted out more were more ‘cognitively engaged and as a result learned more.’

The study, which took place in 556 schools and encompassed 12,000 pupils in England seemed to show a pattern of this impulsive behaviour leading to higher test results, often higher than those pupils who were quiet and fastidious in class (even though they scored high grades too).

As said by report co-author Christine Merrell, "Although it may seem disruptive, blurting out of answers clearly helps these pupils to learn", with Tymms adding that there was a need for teachers to be able to harness this disruptive behaviour, rather than dismiss it out of hand.

So next time you see some cocky little kid with a smart-arse tendency to shout out the answers, remember that he might actually be quite clever, along with being irritating.

Will Durham University start a revolution of noisy, exasperating but nonetheless clever students?

It’s too early to tell, with the scientists now moving on to explore this revelatory theory.

However, it appears that the future’s bright, the future’s noisy.