Why are clumsy children worse at school?
Some children are just better at school than their classmates. This does not necessarily have to do with the support of teachers and parents, but can have a variety of reasons. Researchers have now found that when children have difficulty catching a ball, they also have more problems reading, writing, and maths.
The University of Leeds scientists found in their current study that clumsy children who have trouble catching a ball do worse in reading, writing and maths tests at school. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Psychological Science".
Study examined more than 300 subjects
If children lack hand-eye coordination, schools may be able to offer additional support, the doctors say. For the study, more than 300 children between the ages of four and eleven participated in various tasks on the computer. The doctors checked the coordination and other skills through a test in which participating children interacted with moving objects. Tasks for measuring hand-eye coordination were, for example, controlling, aiming and tracking objects on a computer screen.
People with improved hand-eye coordination had higher degrees
In one of the tasks, the children had to hit a moving object with a racket on the screen. The researchers say that this task reflects a basic cognitive ability. The test can predict how the brain predicts the movement of objects through time and space. Participants with improved hand-eye coordination tended to have higher academic degrees, the study's authors explain. Improved hand-eye coordination could lead to improved grades in school, the experts add.
What are the causes of the results?
The results of the current study show that hand-eye coordination and so-called interactive timing are robust predictors of how well small children will do in school, the scientists say. Current thinking among psychologists is that the neural circuitry used to build a child's understanding of its external environment and the way the children orientate themselves and perceive their world are also used to process numbers and more abstract thinking be used. Of course, the results of the study raise the question of whether schools should identify those children who are considered clumsy or lack good coordination to give them additional support, the study authors say. (as)