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SOURCE: PHYSORG.com [Science:Physics:Tech:Nano:News]
To improve learning, German school allows chewing gumDecember 1, 2010
Few things annoy a teacher more than 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 pilot project is being run.
"No one is being forced to chew gum," headmaster Hans Dasch told AFP. "But it helps the children concentrate and deal with stress, particularly during written tests."
He added: "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."
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 is equipped with a special container decorated by the children themselves with bees, ladybirds, snails and the like, in partnership with a local artist.
"All the children respect the rules. None of them blows bubbles ... No one sticks gum on their seats," said the headmaster, who admits that he chews gum too, along with several teachers.
"The pupils chew in a very disciplined manner."