The Importance of Rest Between Classes
It"s very common to mistakenly suppose that, by working more hours, one is more productive. This quite clearly isn"t the case, and we can see this in any area of life, including the schooling of our children and young people. For this reason, it"s vital that we think about the importance of frequent rest between classes at school.
Neuroscience has shown that the mind loses concentration when it focuses on one particular thing for long periods of time, such as a teacher"s explanations.
Because of this, establishing predetermined and frequent break times, with different durations, will favor more active learning in children and a better understanding of the lessons.
The human brain and child behavior
Break times are very important for learning. If we want a quality education for our little ones, then we must take into account that our minds relax and knowledge settles when they"re having a break.
In fact, there"s data that shows that more consistent and longer breaks improve children"s behavior, educational competence, statistics, and grades.
Neuroscience has observed all of this clearly. This science, in charge of studying the nervous system, helps us to understand the behavior of the brain and its reactions.
When this discipline has been applied to learning, it has shown that breaks are an excellent way of breaking the monotony in education. They can help to create more stimulating environments that will enhance the student"s experience.
Neuroscience applied to classroom education
The brain requires physical activity in order to be activated. However, the current educational system is quite sedentary and, at times, monotonous. Because of this, it"s difficult to promote children"s interest and motivation.
Current education forces children to spend many hours sitting in front of the teacher. With this format, the human brain releases very little dopamine and the mind isn"t sufficiently active in order to assimilate new knowledge.
A class of more than 50 minutes without any interruption will end up reducing the children"s brain productivity, thus making learning more difficult.
If classes are too long, the brain loses much of its capacity to assimilate information. For this reason, it"s a good idea to opt for the principles of active learning. Backed up by neuroscience, they recommend that classes shouldn"t exceed 45 minutes, which is the maximum time to optimize the assimilation of new knowledge.
Learning and frequent breaks
Depending on the level of education, it may be common for a class to last 60 minutes or even longer. This is more common at university, but can also be found in secondary or primary education.
On many occasions, it"s the teachers themselves who fail to comply with the rest time between classes. However, no matter how important the subject they teach is, this is a clear mistake.
After 45 minutes, the brain that hasn"t rested loses its capacity to assimilate information. If we look at it from the principles of active learning proposed by neuroscience, then we can see that the last 15 minutes of a one-hour class aren"t being optimized. Concentration and information are being wasted by not taking a short break of 5 to 10 minutes.
Therefore, if one were to choose a class structure to optimize learning and time utilization, then the ideal situation, according to research in neuroscience, would be to intersperse 45-minute classes with 15-minute breaks between each one.
“The secret to good health is for the body to be active, and the mind to rest."
– Vincent Voiture –
Ultimately, frequent rest between classes oxygenates the brain, and refreshes the student"s mind, in order to help them refocus and concentrate on the following class.
From this research, we can see that frequent rest can help to promote active and productive learning. If only we could all see this reality, then we could implement it and optimize our children"s education.