In a recent episode of the Truth for Teachers podcast titled "Bell-to-Bell Instruction is Not Best Practice: Here's the Research," Angela Watson challenges the widely accepted notion that bell-to-bell instructional time is the most effective teaching practice.
Teachers are often under pressure to have students engaged in academic activities. This makes it challenging for them and their students. A school day becomes more enjoyable with the right amount of breaks along the way. I imagine that productivity might actually improve overall, along with the quality of work.
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She emphasizes the need for educators to prioritize quality over quantity by providing students with meaningful learning experiences and fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. The research she shares makes the case for educators to make time for student reflection, allowing them to make connections, develop a deeper understanding, and become active participants in their learning. There seem to be benefits in offering students both structured and unstructured breaks.
Here is a Brain Break Resource with more information and resources to get you started.
Here are some of the resources and research that she refers to during the episode.
- The case for more time spent “doing nothing” via Everyday Health
- Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find via the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- Brief and rare mental “breaks” keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements via Science Direct
- Rest is not idleness: Implications of the brain’s default mode for human development and education via ResearchGate. Full paper here via ScottBarryKaufman.com
- Dr. Immordino-Yang: Emotions are integral to learning via Novak Djokovic Foundation
- Your ability to focus may be limited to 4 or 5 hours a day. Here’s how to make the most of them. via Washington Post
- Using brain breaks to restore students’ focus via Edutopia