A Swedish school has endorsed teachers’ pet peeve – chewing gum – in class in the belief that the activity of chewing enhances learning.
Parkskolan elementary school in Alvsbyn, northern Sweden, is allowing students to chomp on sugar-free gum in every lesson, as long as they have their parents’ permission.
Scientific studies have shown that the practice, vigilantly outlawed in other schools across the country (and indeed, the world), can increase alertness and concentration, as well as actually improve test scores. It is believe that the movement of the jaws could boost blood flow to the brain.
Speaking to Aftonbladet, Year Five student Anna Ljuslinder said, “I chew maybe five or six sticks of gum every day in school, during almost all lessons except the one just before lunch. “I always chew gum when we have maths or science. It makes me focus. Otherwise I just sit and talk and don’t hear what the teacher says.”
The National Union of Teachers, however, is not impressed by the blatant flouting of the age-old rules of the profession. Chairwoman Metta Fjellkner told the newspaper, “This is a way to de-professionalise teachers. I find this offensive.”