Chaos is bad for kids

Kids growing up in chaotic homes with no clear rules or routines have  lower IQs and more behavior problems, concludes a study analyzed by Daniel Willingham on The Answer Sheet.

Rsearchers factored out “the parents’ education level, parent’s IQ, a measure of the literacy environment in the home (number of books and so on), the housing situation, a measure of parental warmth/negativity, and a measure of stressful events.” Chaos still emerged as a negative factor for children’s IQ and behavior.

Chaos hurts in the classroom too, speculates Robert Pondiscio.

It’s not hard to imagine higher level of student achievement, if not IQ, in classrooms that are well managed and orderly.  At the very least, the lack of those qualities is one of the most visible signposts of poorly run schools.

A Teach for America teacher in D.C. uses the “respect bell” to keep order. When a student curses, insults someone or strays off task, the teacher rings a hotel-style bell ($5 at Staples).

(Students) insisted, pleaded, begged that I stop. But I wouldn’t – at least until they, themselves, stopped saying or doing disrespectful things. Surprisingly, my decision to hold my ground led students to police each other in a positive way. They told each other to quiet down, to stop using profanity and to focus in on the lesson. For a moment, I had a class that was completely silent and on-task!

I think kids feel secure with an authoritative adult in charge.

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