LONDON: A leading academician has challenged the conventional idea of silent classroom teaching by claiming that students working against a background of chatter actually learn better and faster.
According to Angeline Lillard, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, too many schools were still holding on to a traditional "factory model" of the classroom wherein children sitting silently were thought to be blank sheets on which teachers could imprint knowledge simply by talking to them.
"We were designed in nature to think about the world in relation to how we physically interact with it — it's called embodied cognition. So it's only natural that children learn better when they get to move," Times Online quoted her, as saying.
"If you ask children to pick out pairs of animals that might go together, they will remember the pairs that they are allowed to touch and move, rather than the ones they just look at," she added.
Lillard was particularly opposed to early education in Britain, where children in preschool settings are persuaded to play and learn in groups before being transferred to more formal compulsory school settings, where they are forced to remain silent.
Lillard also challenged the wisdom of forcing children to be silent in class. "Children seem to be able to work against a hum of background noise. They can't learn from each other if they are told to be silent," she said.
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