I like to debate the issues with my colleagues, and one debate I had with one of my best of friends was over his choice to allow his 8th-grade students to chew gum. I, on the other hand, am fervently opposed to allowing it in my 7th-grade classroom. In fact, we teachers shouldn’t be chewing gum in class either. It might seem trivial to many teachers, but there are reasons why we shouldn’t permit our students to chew gum in class.
1. The classroom is not a barn yard. Chomp-clack-chomp-clack. When I taught at a high school where gum was permitted, that’s all you heard in the sea of students. Looking out at them made me think of a host of cows chewing cud on my brother-in-law’s farm.
2. It’s terrible for public speaking. There’s nothing more awful than students who have just delivered the GREATEST PRESENTATION OF ALL MANKIND, but the whole time you can’t think about anything beyond how they fit 6 pieces of gum in their mouth. It also muffles the voice from operating in a proper manner, and a piece of gum sitting on one’s tongue or stuffed in their cheek just looks silly. Want to get in a debate and win against someone? Give your competitor a piece of chewing gum.
3. It will destroy your class and school. This is probably the number 1 reason to prevent gum chewing. Our middle school is nearly 60 years old, and it’s in pretty decent condition. A large reason behind that is the fact that gum is and has been prohibited. Compared to the high school that I taught at, which is less than 10 years old – I still remember going to get a drink from a water fountain that was splattered with gum, someone even wrapping their gum around the faucet. Nasty!
4. Gum snapping and bubble blowing is distracting. There are silly things that students do unconsciously or even consciously when you turn your back to make one another laugh. Why give them another?
5. Gum sharing is inconsiderate. It become a popularity contest to share gum, and students act selfish by giving to a select group of people while neglecting others. I operate by the policy if you have something in this class, there needs to be enough for everyone. Period.
6. People try to claim that it stimulates concentration. But I don’t buy it. Do you really think a slap of Big Red or 2 pieces of Orbit are going to make you do that much better on the test? How about an interactive, stimulating classroom, a healthy breakfast, or 8 hours of sleep? That’s what I’d rather focus on for my students.
7. Opening Pandora’s box to a host of other classroom discussions. If students can chew gum (which I’m opposed to), why can’t they carry around a water bottle (which I support)? Why can’t they eat snacks or bring in soda pop?
8. It sets a negative precedent for years to come. We are animals of habit. If we can model good behaviors in our students in any age, they can become standards for years to come. If teachers restrict the ability to chew gum in class, it’s possible that students will go to college and be on interviews and think to themselves – I shouldn’t have gum in a professional setting. It’s amazing how many young adults – or even the President of the United States – forget about that.
I’m curious to know your thoughts on gum chewing in schools. Please share below!
A very bright middle-school student named Arun Dhingra just sent me a persuasive essay he wrote about why chewing gum should be allowed at school. Listen up teachers! I have now sent quite a bit of Think Gum® to teachers who want their students to do better on standardized testing so I believe Arun is onto something. His essay is below:
Imagine you are taking a math test, but you just cannot concentrate. This is why we need gum. Everyone wants that refreshing piece of gum within his or her mouth during school. There are many benefits to acquire gum at school. These benefits can help you perform better in school and help you learn more. Although some say that chewing gum is a horrible idea, when one views the research, they will discover there are great advantages.
One reason we must include gum at school is because it helps in keeping students awake. When I am at school, I witness many students looking sleepy or wanting to fall asleep. The solution to this predicament is gum. According to a scientific study by Kathleen Melanson from University of Rhode Island, when you chew gum your metabolism increases by 20 percent.(Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com) When someone’s metabolism is raised, they are more likely to stay awake. This evidence shows that gum needs to be allowed at school to help students stay awake.
Second, permitting gum chewing at school will help improve your test scores. According to research conducted by the American Society for Nutrition, they found out that students who chewed gum during class during a 14-week period, had a significant increase in test scores and received a better finishing grade compared to those who did not chewed gum. This example supports that schools need to tolerate gum in order for students to improve on tests.
Several people might say that gum is unhealthy and is not good for you. On the contrary, gum is pretty healthy and actually lots of different types of gum are sugar-free and have xylitol. Some evidence explains that xylitol reduces cavities by 70 percent (Trident Company.) That is a great bonus. Clearly, you should be able to chew gum at school, because you can get healthier and stronger teeth.
Lastly, gum can assist students concentrate. Research has exposed that the movement you make when you chew gum makes your brain think it is going to get food. Then, insulin, which enhances learning and memory, is released to the brain and helps it focus. (Andrew Scholey, Swinburne University, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com) In the U.S. military, soldiers have chewed gum since World War I to improve their concentration. (Wrigley Company) With the research stating these facts, it is clear that gum needs to be allowed at school to improve your concentration.
It is essential to recognize that chewing gum includes many great benefits, such as improving students’ test scores, concentration, and metabolism. Before one sees the research, gum-chewing might sound like a horrific idea. In fact, chewing gum really is a great thing to allow at schools. So, if people want to improve students’ ability to do better in school, gum-chewing should be allowed at schools.