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Chat It Up

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health at 12:09 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
A Teacher’s Talking-toThe bane of every teacher’s classroom is the talker, the child whose lips are permanently flapping and voice is permanently heard. She whispers through math, giggles through science and gossips through reading. The air is consumed by her incessant buzz, seeming empty when she is not there. It is the educator’s goal to convince the child to remain silent for just one lesson if not one day. The teacher cites poor performance for the child and those around her as a reason to stop, but to no avail. The talker keeps talking. Does this spell an academic disaster?

Evidently not. According to researchers, bad behavior in youth will not affect a child’s grades in the years to come.  Interrupting the teacher, defying instruction and even picking fights are nuisances but not omens. In fact, a little bit of chatting can actually improve performance. A daily ten-minute conversation, over the phone or in person, leads to higher levels of cognitive function.  And engaging in a group discussion, on any topic, proves just as helpful as completing “intellectual” tasks, such as crossword puzzles and reading comprehension quizzes, before a test. So should we start encouraging classroom convos rather than shushing them?

Knowing several teachers and valuing my life, you couldn’t pay me enough money to even consider recommending that. A child’s blather may not create a future fraught with failure, but it certainly won’t do her any good in the present. She’ll have a frustrated teacher, a distracted peer group and little awareness of what is going on around her. What should happen, then, is a continuance of social opportunities. Times of talk should be incorporated into every day. In school, this means recess, snack times, group activities, requested participation and lunch. Outside of school and into adulthood, socialization should broaden to incorporate neighbors, friends and family. Contact of some sort should be made daily if cognitive function is to improve similarly.

3 Responses to “Chat It Up”

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for your tribute to teachers and the chatty children we have to deal with 🙂

  2. Kelsey James says:

    All the more reason to rack up the cell phone bill!! Thats really cool that talking helps your health.

  3. Gabriela says:

    I had not seen this comments section. Month after month I have followed with great interest the articles of the page, and I am making a translation to the Spanish of some of them and I am sending them to my colleagues in Mexico. Greetings Sergio vila

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