There was a recent article in the U.S. News & World Report recently that caught my eye. The idea behind the article was that American students waste much time at school with nonacademic things. They compared the number of hours that students in American spend learning to the number that students in other countries spend. They found that Americans are in the books less.
To be honest, the article did not convince me or intrigue me that much. However, it did start a line of thinking for me. I began thinking about my day at school and how much time my students and I put into learning.
I think that it would actually be a lot more than it appears. It all depends on how one perceives the idea of learning. While we may not spend all of the time in the books, we are learning.
The time that a student spends learning also depends on the age level. Of course older students should spend more academic time than younger students. However, social activities and everyday life concepts are also major aspects students learn while at school.
My students get a good hour in before a break. After that we have about a twenty minute snack and then are back to work. Our time goes for about another forty-five minutes. We then have a forty-five minute break. We are back at the tables for about forty-five more minutes before lunch. After lunch the day is pretty relaxed and laid back with rest time and some fun time for the children.
I think that the meat of the day should take place in the morning. The students are fresh and ready for some action. After lunch they are less energized, tired, and not as alert.
So while my students may not spend their whole day stuck in a book, they are learning. Whether it is how to follow instructions, how to solve problems with others, or how to read and write.