Why Teachers Should Give Their Students a Break Halfway Through Class

Ella Pedroso, Design Editor

This year, Miami Palmetto Senior High instituted block scheduling, increasing class time from one to two hours. The beginning of a school year can be frustrating by itself;  but introducing brain breaks in the middle of class would take away some of this. Students have enough on their plates already, and with two hour block classes, teachers should give their students a break halfway through class. A brain break acts as more than just a short recess — the benefits have been proven by many studies.

A 2014 study published in Science Direct  called “off-task behavior in elementary school children showed that on-task behavior decreased ten to thirty minutes into the lesson. The longer the lesson continued, the more students needed a break. Pausing the lesson and letting students’ brains rest allows them to pay attention longer, boosting productivity.

Stress and mental health are closely connected, as chronic stress could lead to depression and/or anxiety — and juggling six classes is stressful.Taking a break during a class is great for the brain’s health, as proven by a 2012 study by the Brain and Creativity Institute. When taking a brain break, the brain enters “Default Mode” (DM). Having your brain on DM is important for mental processing, as shown by evidence using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Taking a break and processing what you learned will help calm students down and reduce stress for the remainder of the class.

To some, a break in the middle of class may sound like an excuse to waste time or go on your phone, but science backs up giving students brain breaks. The Association for Psychological Science conducted a study called “Back To School: Cramming Doesn’t Work In The Long Term” that showed the effect ‘overlearning’ has on the brain. Students who got to take a brain break retained the information taught better than those who did not.

Every class should incorporate brain breaks to improve brain health and academic success. Brain breaks take away the stress of learning and help you excel in school. Since students typically got a break every hour under the old system, teachers should continue to offer brain breaks in the middle of class to assist with attention span, the retaining of information and mental health.