To improve learning, German school allows chewing gum
Few things rile a teacher more than seeing a pupil chewing gum in class, but a primary school in southern Germany is now actively encouraging them to do so -- in order to improve their grades.
"Chewing gum is good for the children's health and improves their cognitive performance," said Wolfgang Ellegast from the education ministry in Bavaria, home to the Volkenschwand school where the new pilot project is being run.
School headmaster Siegfried Lehr agrees: "The prerequisite for learning with fun is that kids come to school without fear and that they feel happy... Therefore we are encouraging them to chew gum in break and in lessons."
Chewing gum is also good for dental health, particularly after meals when it is not possible to brush your teeth, organisers said.
But it is not anarchy. According to a "firm agreement" with teachers, the children must keep their mouths closed while chewing -- except for when speaking, of course -- and properly dispose of the gum.
To this end, each desk equipped with a special container decorated by the children themselves with bees, ladybirds, snails and the like in partnership with a local artist.
© 2010 AFP