Shorter school days may seem like a bad idea at first glance. Students get less instruction time with teachers, less time for tests, more potential homework, and more. Our private school: The Tenney School has been using shorter class periods for over half a century now! I am going to discuss why it works for us and why we think more schools should adopt this type of schedule.
Less Pressure on Students and Teachers
As school days have gotten longer over the years, both students and teachers are under more pressure than ever before. For students, it is a constant battle in maintaining attention for all of the class period. Some of these periods even extend beyond an hour! On the teacher side of things, there is more pressure to plan a lesson that utilizes all of class time. An hour or more is a lot of time to do instruction. Many teachers will split the time up between lesson time and work time. This split attention approach wares down on the students’ mental focus. Making it harder to pay attention and complete quality work.
Shorter class periods are better for both teachers and students by putting less pressure on both parties during lesson time. The student only needs to maintain their focus for 30 minutes while the teacher can focus on teaching the lesson. A study done by news.bbc.co.uk said:
The average length of time a student could concentrate for in lectures was 10 minutes, according to the survey last month.
Even though this study focused on university students, it is important to note just how short their attention span is. Instruction time becomes more efficient when the students are focused and ready to learn. This generally happens within the first 30 minutes before it begins dropping off.
Supports a Positive Studying Environment
It is no surprise that shortening the school day improves the moods of both students and teachers. When the mood elevates like this, more students are motivated. This creates a positive “ripple” in the classroom for studying and completing work. Students become motivated to help each other and build a community within their classroom. In addition, it will also improve class academics as more students are spending quality time studying. A positive environment is also one with less distractions and more interactions. A student is more inclined to contribute to a class discussion when they are in such environment!
More Class Choice
With school days and classes now being shorter, there is room to take more classes! This gives students an opportunity to explore more of their interests inside of school. Maybe their schedule before did not permit time to take a baking class but now they can! Once again, this will improve student happiness in the school and open the doors up to new classes starting. More academic diversity and credits, means students will also standout on college applications. It is a great way to improve class-type diversity and improve attendance for new electives and classes!
More Time Outside of School
Many students have a packed schedule. Loaded with advanced courses, extracurriculars, and even a job! This can leave students with little time to decompress. Furthermore, burnout becomes a real concern for students who are front-loaded with homework. Shorter school days gives the student more time outside of school to accommodate other aspects of their life. This means a student finally has the time to maintain and work on their mental health. Whether this is in the form of getting restful sleep, decompressing, or pursuing hobbies!
I hope this article was able to provide you with reasons why we believe a shorter school day is good. Both students and teachers benefit from a shorter days and we believe it is an important thing to consider. Especially as attention spans get shorter, considering shorter school days is a must to continue improving the education and academic situation for students and teachers!