“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” This statement is how Tim Kreider describes breaks in The New York Times. In ISB, we have four blocks per day. School hours are from 8:15 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. (excluding Wednesday schedule). Even if we have long school hours, there is few breaks except for lunch period. The schedule is in needs of reform.
What are the negative effects of lack of break time?
1) Lack of breaks makes us unable to focus on the class contents. Sleep researchers, William Dement and Nathan Kleitman, discovered the 90-minute pattern while studying the cycles by which we progress into sleep. In other words, people can practice in focused sessions of no more than 90 minutes. On every Wednesday, We don’t have any break between 9:45 a.m. to 12:25 a.m. This means that we have classes for about 3 hours if we don’t have study hall. According to this research, students are more likely to be distracted during this long block.
2) After information enters the human brain, that brain organizes it and makes connections between related information. This helps people to transfer short-term memory to long-term memory. Some studies have shown that the mind solves its tough problems while taking a shower, listening to music and chatting with friends. However, the scarcity of breaks may disturb our ability to absorb new information and weakening these connections that help us form long-term memories. The tight school routine is likely to bring about decrease of memory storage ability.
3) We do not have enough sufficient time to transition between classes. Without a passing period, students frequently arrive late to class and disrupt the instructional flow of the class.
Why wouldn’t students take regular breaks to make sure they learn effectively?
There is no doubt that the lack of breaks between blocks may cause several harmful effects such as loss of concentration and failure to transfer new information to long-term memory. While taking regular breaks from learning not only improves productivity and creativity, but also helps prevent stress and exhaustion.
This research demonstrates that ISB students need plenty of break time between classes. We should demand break periods to improve our attention and ability to memorize.