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Shoe-less Classrooms

After 10 years of research, a recent study has revealed that pupils and students are more likely to achieve better academic results when they don’t wear shoes in class. The study has also shown that the children are often better behaved and happier if their shoes are taken off beforehand.

When I was in primary school in Holland, all those years ago, this was standard practice. It taught me the value of making sure you are wearing brightly coloured socks, but I never knew that it was helping me towards my academic achievements too!

 

Conducted by the University of Bournemouth, the study has revealed several benefits, both for pupil and teacher. The results have indicated that pupils leaving their shoes outside the classroom actually “arrive to school earlier, leave later and read more widely”. These benefits will lead to better academic achievements in relation to punctuality as well as higher grades that will help them in their future career paths.

Covering over 25 countries Worldwide and assessing thousands of children, the academics followed progress and achievements from primary school up to university. The study also covered schools in warmer countries like Spain, where wearing shoes indoors is the norm. This is in contrast to schools in colder countries such as Norway, where shoes are not worn in schools to avoid children bringing in mud and snow.

An initial result that has come from the study is that a “relaxed atmosphere” has been achieved by a lack of footwear. The class seems to become quieter and increasingly positive in addition to there being more engagement and involvement with class activities from pupils. With increased concentration levels, more information can be processed by the young learners.

“Experts believe having children remove their shoes for the classroom improves their learning because it makes them relax.”

As the pupils “feel at home”, not wearing shoes in class will contribute to higher grades in future exams, learning how to give their full attention throughout lessons. This is especially true given their young minds being reminiscent of sponges, soaking up all the information given.

The research also seems to have pointed out that reading skills improve throughout class when pupils aren’t wearing footwear. Researchers have found that the improvement could also be down to the relaxed feeling in class. The majority of children who read at home aren’t going to do so sat on an upright chair, they would normally find a more comfortable position. Having the same type of conditions in class, for example bean bags, will mean that they are able to create the same sense of freedom when reading, in addition to feeling more comfortable without shoes on.

“Having conditions in the classroom that are like those at home means that boys are reading in the classroom.”    

Another great result that has been found is the decrease in bullying within school when shoes aren’t worn in the classroom. The pupils become happier has “everything starts going in their favour” which means there is less hostility and jealousy between classmates. There is also an increase in self-confidence and pride throughout classrooms. Better grades are achieved and the pupils start to enjoy being in class and have more fun learning within the relaxed atmosphere.

Academies are now looking into adopting this practice, following the great results that have been found. This being predominantly throughout primary and secondary schools to achieve benefits during their younger years.

There are already a few schools in London who have introduced this and a lot of other Academics are pushing for other schools to follow suit. If you are worried about smelly feet, then Mr Heppel has put our minds at rest by explaining: “Children’s shoeless feet do not smell, it is the shoes that make them smelly”. Ideal! Who knew that not wearing shoes would achieve so much more?!

Posted by: Michael Hurd

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