Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Districts having frequent recess to improve classroom focus


  1. My contention for awhile has been that, at some point, extending the school day leads to less learning, not more. The mind needs times to absorb material and to connect new ideas to old ideas.

    I've developed this idea in miniature to enable older students to experience the benefit of breaks. I call this technique the "60-second dash".

    It can be applied to many types of activities. To illustrate, I'll give an example how it can be applied to reading.

    The 60" dash involves breaking a minute up into four parts.

    The first 5": Intention stage
    The next 10": Meditation stage
    The next 40": Activity stage
    The last 5": Summary stage

    The student opens up a book. He spends 5" focusing on the idea that he's going to spend time reading. He takes 10" preparing his mind to absorb the cintent of what he's about to read. He reads for 40". Then he finishes off by reflecting for 5" on what he just read.

    Reading this way actually takes longer. If it takes 60" to read one page without interruption, a student will only read 2/3 of a page doing the 60" dash.

    The retention of information will be on a much higher level, however. The "recesses" will lead to better learning.

  2. Tell this to the Roshei Yeshivot. They insist on two to three hour shiurim, no in between breaks.

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