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Kids Who Don't Wear Shoes At School Are 'More Likely To Behave Better', Study Suggests

One professor argues it improved kids' grades and engagement.

25/05/2016 10:52

Children who don't wear shoes at school are more likely to behave better than those who do, a study suggests. 

Researchers at the University of Bournemouth observed children in 100 schools from 25 countries over 10 years as part of the 'Learnometer' project, examining the physical conditions of classrooms. 

They found that by removing shoes, like many kids do in Scandinavia, classrooms were "quieter", providing a calmer atmosphere where pupils were "more willing to engage" in learning activities than those with shoes on. 

"Children are much more willing to sit on the floor and relax if they have no shoes on," Professor Stephen Heppell, who is leading the research with the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University, said according to the Telegraph

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"The last place a child would sit to read is an upright chair and we’ve found that 95% of them actually don’t read on a chair at home," Heppel added.

"When they go on holidays they read lying down."

Professor Heppel, who hopes to bring the "shoeless policy" practice to all UK schools, said having conditions that are relaxing at school makes children feel as if they're at home. 

" Kids with shoes on are less engaged than those without shoes,” he added.

Professor Heppel said he believes staff and head teachers should also adopt the habit. 

He has cited many of the benefits of "shoeless learning" on his website:

- The children seem simply to behave better.

- Carpets are much cleaner - and more hygenic.

- Bullying is reduced - as a pupil told me, persuasively: "It's just hard to be naughty with your shoes off."

- Noise is reduced - this is a mix of consequences: carpeted floors are quieter (and with the lower wear and tear and reduced cleaning costs are more affordable), hard floors don't echo with footfalls and children move more "gently".

- Behaviour is significantly gentler whilst children circulate.

- Teachers do not end up in conflict about the "right kind" of shoes.

The research team, who are studying conditions in classrooms in an ongoing project, are gradually releasing results from their findings throughout 2016 and 2017.  

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