By Hannah Steinmetz, junior
The student sat in class, listening to the teacher drone on. Her eyelids drooped more and more, until they shut completely. Her head popped back up, awake, tapping her foot and moving her hands to stay alert. She wished to take a break, but they weren’t allowed in this class. Tick, tick, tick. The clock reminded her there were still 45 minutes to go.
Edgewood High School has been using extended-learning days for about four years, and there have been a variety of opinions on them. The school has seven 45-minute periods on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, but on Wednesdays and Thursdays, it goes with a block schedule. On Wednesdays, students go to their second, fourth, and sixth period classes for 90 minutes each, along with 55 minutes of homeroom in the morning. On Thursdays, students go to their first, third, fifth, and seventh period classes for 90 minutes each, without homeroom in the morning. While this schedule works for some, others would prefer an alternative schedule.
“It’s harder in the fact of trying to take teenagers with short attention spans and do four or five things in an hour and a half,” geography teacher Mr. Lee said.
According to an article on owlcation.com, at most, students have attention spans of about 22 minutes, over four times less than what the extended-learning periods require. However, there have been some contradictions to this.
“It was pretty clear that in some subjects, you could not sustain deep discussions or extensive labs and lessons in a 45 or 50 minute period, so there was always a yearning, among some departments and teachers, for longer periods,” English teacher Mr. Brewer said.
Mrs. VanAllen, another English teacher, had a similar belief and thought that it would be hard to cover all the material, and students “would have a hard time getting a project done in a 45-minute period.” Therefore, in certain classes, such as science and English, 90 minutes can be needed to get things done.
Another aspect that comes into play for students and teachers alike is the 24-hour period in which they don’t see each other.
“For people like me, it’s really hard to go a day without a certain class because I end up forgetting some things that we learned, so it’s really difficult to try to remember it on the Friday [afterwards],” junior Megan Mishler said.
Spanish teacher Ms. Byers agreed and said, “I prefer to see my classes every day rather than having days off in between.”
An article on k12teacherstaffdevelopment.com said that repetition is important in the learning process, so the day that a student doesn’t see a teacher could cause difficulties. Although some don’t like the day in between, some teachers take the day as a positive.
“Maybe it’s because of psychological effects; I know there’s one day a week where we all get a break from each other,” Brewer said.
Senior Megan Higgins believes that the extended-learning days allow for her to separate her homework and get some sleep during the week. In other words, by having only three to four of her seven classes two days of the week, she has less homework than she would on a normal night. “I feel so relieved,” Higgins said, “because I can put off homework and focus on one specific class if needed.”
Students and teachers seem to have a range of opinions about the extended-learning days. “If there is no clear answer,” Brewer said, “compromise is important all around.”