Time to unwind

Teachers must give students breaks during class time


Eiffel Sunga

Two hour block periods can drag on and become draining. Taking breaks, such as sitting outside with nature, is a great way to decompress during a long class period.

Cherise Magtoto, News Copy Editor

When the clock strikes 8:30 a.m., students head to their first period class, lasting until 10:30a.m.. While in class, a student loses their focus after watching the teacher lecture for an hour and a half. After the class, the short 10 minute nutrition break follows, not enough to refresh students after a long class. In the 2022-2023 school year, Bonita Vista High (BVH) implemented block scheduling, where students have three classes that are two hours long instead of six classes that last one hour. 

Getting through a one hour class can be a challenge in itself; it is crucial that teachers give students a break halfway through the class period. Though class may seem more productive because of the longer time period, losing attention of students without proper breaks can ultimately create a less productive class period. 

In a poll of 949 students conducted by the Crusader, 540 students (56.9%) have reported not receiving breaks during their classes. It is vital that students have breaks that will allow them to focus on something that is not related to classwork. Lack thereof, their attention spans may decrease and disconnect them from actively learning. 

Taking breaks has been proven to be beneficial when improving focus. University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras led a study to determine the effectiveness of prolonged work or study periods without a break. The study found that having subjects take two brief breaks from their main task allowed them to stay focused during the entire experiment. Though it may seem like taking longer breaks is merely an excuse for a student to use their phone or get distracted, science has proven this theory wrong. 

The benefits of taking breaks not only increases one’s attention span, but it has profound effects on mental health.”

— Cherise Magtoto

The Association for Psychological Science conducted a study titled, “Back To School: Cramming Doesn’t Work In The Long Term,” finding that the effects of overlearning—cramming all the study on a single topic into a single session—can lead to lower attention spans and long-term retention of information. Students who received a break were more likely to retain the information and do well on a test. Breaks should not be looked at as a waste of time, rather valuable time where one’s mind is able to process and digest important information. 

The benefits of taking breaks not only increases one’s attention span, but it has profound effects on mental health. According to a 2012 study, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, which measures brain activity, was used to examine activity during the brain’s “default mode”—a state of rest that’s usually associated with taking a break. The study found that breaks are important to keeping our brains healthy and they play a huge role in cognitive abilities such as reading comprehension and reducing stress within students. 

While some teachers may feel like giving students a break just serves to lose time, they are essential to let students process information, wind down and decrease stress. In a time of high stress and anxiety, high schoolers need breaks in order to be as productive as possible.