This article is absolutely true, as I have seen over my 32 years of teaching
elementary school. NCLB and Common Core are decimating recess, P.E., History,
and the arts in education. We would be better off going back to the education
of the 80's.
Yes! A thousand times yes! My wife has ADD. My 6y.o. son exhibits classic
symptoms of ADHD, but as he was only six during kindergarten we could not have
him officially tested or force the teacher to provide the accomidations he
needed. As a result, on the days he was the most fidgety and movement prone,
she would hold him in from recess - the one chance he had to work out some of
his extra energy! And she would be completely exasperated by his worsening
behavior at the end of the day. I am terrified that my very bright little boy
is going to quickly begin hating school and then learning, and that is something
that should never happen.
This article is very consistent with my extensive research about the most
effecting learning skills and strategies for my "Own Best Teacher"
program. Increasing the "rigor of education standards" does nothing to
ensure students will learn. In fact, teaching to the test, which both NCLB and
CC instigate, actually harms the learning process as it throws the child into
academic challenges they have not been prepared to absorb. Fear, anxiety, and a
host of other symptoms block the ability of the child to learn effectively. Play
and exercise are both important elements in developing healthy and balanced
individuals who can learn more efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately,
centralized control over education, which ignores these facts, has been
increasing. Teacher and parental control over the child's education have
increasingly been compromised and stripped away. If we want our children to be
successful, we need to reverse directions. We need to give our children better
tools and strategies to have a happy and fulfilled life, including appropriate
opportunities for play and exercise.
Makes sense to me. If a school block is about 6 hours long with 15 minute
breaks near the end of each hour, the kids by the end of the day have about an
hour and a half of some kind of exercise. Let the kids play. Gives the
teachers a chance to reset for the next hour, too. In the end, it's good
We need to emulate Finland in regards to education in every way imaginable. End
Let ME be clear. First, kids do need breaks. Adults need breaks, kids need them
even more. I agree that the elementary school day is too full of academics. When
I was a principal, I even had primary grade teachers who cut out morning or
afternoon recess so they could get in more reading or math time. I fought it
then, I will continue to fight it how. I also agree that NCLB put unrealistic
expectations on both teachers and students and led to a great deal of teaching
to the test. That kind of teaching still exists. However, Common Core does NOT
instigate teaching to the test. Common Core is a set of standards. Nothing more,
nothing less. It is the high stakes that are placed on test results by
legislative efforts like NCLB and grading schools that lead to teaching to the
test. Blame legislators for that, not the standards.
But Howard if we used the Finnish system and empowered teachers to teach, what
the Utah State legislature have to focus on for 45 days if they couldn't
@ Fred44:Before you start criticizing the state legislature for how
they are handling education within Utah, please keep in mind that just this week
it was announced that Utah students recently tested highest in the nation for
ACT scores. And what's even more impressive is that that was accomplished
with a spending-per-pupil budget that is below the national average. Kudos
to everyone involved for obtaining such impressive results.
@CopaceticGreat. The kids can pass a test. But they have no
critical thinking skills; no problem solving skills; and no cooperative team
building skills-all things for which employers are clamoring. The playground
isn't the only place those skills can be learned, but it's a better
place than a classroom micromanaged by legislators whose only concern is the
next election cycle.
It may look like a losing battle in fighting the big government but don't
quit making your voices heard and then do fun things with your kids at home.
Don't let them sit at home daily, watching TV or playing computer games.
When I taught school, way back in the last century, we insisted that the
children have recess. Some tried to "stay in" and there are times this
is necessary, but not for academic purposes. Teaching children to think is also
essential, and often this is achieved with various activities that don't
appear to be academics. Parents who give their children opportunities to plan
and cook meals, make furniture, help budget, write stories and letters, and
other diversions to numerous to mention are giving children a huge boost.
Teachers can do these activities too, but much of learning should happen at
"Whole Child" is another phrase we see has been abused by politically
corrupt forces of education reform PR, similar to phrases such as "Do it for
the children." A true representation of the whole child debate would
not question the importance of developing the whole child, including things like
adequate instruction in things like music and industrial arts. The way
this phrase is being stigmatized in this article without any explanation as to
why it is bad is very dangerous.
Be careful of articles that try to mix 99% fact with a subtle hidden political
agenda that may actually stigmatize the concept that children need a variety of
activities to address all areas of the brain - YES, including play and recess -
that throw out false alarms against anything other than basic core academics.
One example being a very influential state senator who is preaching the virtues
of a school district that replaced their home economics and industrial arts
facilities with a computer lab, and praising the virtues of reinventing
facilities of those subjects "kids don't want to take anyway." There are always extreme interpretations which are politically misused from
this type of article which actually can do more harm than good
I was raised in the 60s and 70s. Elementary school had some recess. High
school was 8 periods a day, 41 minutes long each, with 6 minutes between class
to get to the next class. We started as early as 7:10. Graduation rate was
high, and most kids went to college.I read a study in college that
said study should be done in 50 minute blocks with 10 minute breaks between. I
found I was most successful studying when I applied this.Kids are
being short-changed by the emphasis on eliminating everything not directly
testable. Activities like art, music, PE and recess are immensely valuable, not
only giving young children outlets to "get the wiggles out" but giving
their minds a break in order to refresh and refocus.Our middle
school assigns kids to 8 classes, but they attend them 4 classes a day, about 90
minutes per class. It's too long and very stressful. Two of my kids have
had very difficult experiences with this schedule, while thriving in other
schedules.It's time to put education decisions back in the
hands of people with kids' best interests at heart, not their own.
Not all children are the same. Some require a lot of breaks, others can
concentrate and want concentrated focus on learning for longer periods of time.
Unfortunately one major problem our schools have is that they require the same
for everyone. I would prefer to see recesses be tailored to the child's
interest and those that want free and open social play be given that, while
others who want something more structured and less dependent upon social
engagement be given a more focused break or team activity. But that's silly
dreaming. Also... the common core is just a set of education
standards, how a school implements or teaches to those standards is entirely up
to the states and local boards to determine. If you can't teach to the
Common Core standards your school has a lot of problems that won't be
solved by any amount of recess breaks. It doesn't matter if you
like them or not, the rest of the world is teaching to standards much more
rigorous. The only edge any of us have in this society is our ability to
innovate, learn and apply that learning.
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.The United States public education
system is based on the Prussian model of turning out obedient subjects. The
trend towards longer, more intensive kindergarten, early-starting days, and
longer hours, for whatever marginal benefit it ekes out in added instructional
time, loses far more by teaching students to hate school and learning. Ease students into it. Boil the frog slowly.
Imagine, using science as a basis for the decisions we make about things like
education! Yes, kids need regular breaks. The science is clear that these kids
do better. Likewise for a later starting time for high school. School districts
that have moved high school start times from 7:30 to 8:30 or 9:00 have seen
dramatic jumps in attendance, drops in discipline problems and depression,
better grades, fewer automobile accidents, and an average of ~50 points increase
in SAT scores.
I don't know. High ACT scores only indicate that children can test well.
Some very smart educated people do not test well. What about other aspects of
development and learning such as creativity, problem solving, group interaction,
etc. Some things you can't teach in a classroom, but need to be learned by
children interacting in a variety of positive ways with other children, their
peers, outside a classroom. High ACT scores are great, but not the whole
The Finnish school system is one of the best, if not THE best in the world.In 2010, Newsweek Magazine came out with its list of the best countries
in the world, and Finland topped the list . . . And it wasn't because of
its ridiculously cold winters.It was basically because of its
government, hated by American "Conservatives" because of demanding
taxes, but one that yielded top results in education, health, housing, and
quality of life for the citizens of Finland.When the poorest of the
poor in Finland have better educational opportunities, health care, and a better
life all around then upper middle class Americans, it makes sense to identify
best practices there and emulate them.That's going to be a HARD
SELL in "Conservative" states though . . . Because as Anne Coulter
insists, American exceptionalism should be treasured . . . Compared
to Finland though, Americans are exceptionally badly educated and have an
exceptionally poor quality of life for being such a rich nation.But
that's just fine with American "Conservatives," because American
exceptionalism is the be all and end all.
Hey Howard Beal -"We need to emulate Finland in regards to
education in every way imaginable. End of story..."But Finland
is a socialist country.It's superlative educational system
requires high taxes . . . And real, red-blooded, Rush-Limbaugh-worshiping
American "Conservatives" will NOT stand for that.
Hey Gary, Finland is a homogeneous country with a small population, just like we
were a few decades ago. We also were number one in education in those days.
Finland has worked hard to keep their IQ high. The U.S is more like Brazil, For
an multicultural country this is as good as you can expect.
Play grounds are where lkids learn to enter society and learn to integrate into
a communal society. Learn the rules of success and of failure. Gotta have it.
Most companies allow for more breaks during training classes for adults than
schools allow children.
This makes so much sense, it's no secret that our elementary and prep
schools are terrible but we do have the best colleges in the world and our
colleges function like this too in way, 45 minutes to an hour and then at least
a 15 minute break. If something like this could make a difference
without spending any more money why not give it a try?
The reasons why our academic success has dropped isn't due to less recess,
it's due to the lack of basics. Reading, writing and arithmetic have been
compromised by the socialist agenda of everyone gets passing grades.My
Japanese grand daughter recently won a swimming event and proclaimed to me over
Skype "I finished number one, everyone else finished number zero". She
is also proficient in Japanese and English and knows every species of dinosaur
by the Latin names. This all coming from a four year old girl.
We home school. Our school day consists maybe of a couple of hours a day total
of parent-guided study with the kids doing their own learning the rest of the
time. We are getting very good results, BYU full-tuition scholarship at the age
of 15. I do not believe we are unique in aptitude, others can get our results. I
am happy to share the secret. If you teach your child the right values, set an
example, and give him the materials, he will learn on his own very very well. If
he does not have the right values, it does not matter what techniques you try,
it will be like trying to get an elephant, a bear, a monkey, and a donkey to
make a good choir by finding a perfect seating arrangement.
The worst thing that happened to our schools was the "block schedule".
90 minute classes for 12 year olds? Way too much time. Any school leader that
adopts that schedule should have their head examined.Seems we
stopped doing what is best for kids and started doing what is easiest for the
schools to manage.
If Finnish schools are so great, why isn't Finland a world leader?
This is a complete fallacy. Our academic success hasn't dropped at all. I
wish the media would stop pushing this agenda. Our kids are much further ahead
at an earlier age than any of us were. The USA continues to be the
dominant force of innovation and achievement.Our schools,
particularly in Utah, are doing a fantastic job.
Honestly, why is it so hard to just let students have some recess. What is
wrong with our society today that the powers that be have to "punish"
the younger generation with harder and more uncomfortable learning conditions
than they had when they were young? Districts like Canyons are obsessed with
"instruction time" and trumpet their success at reducing recess time and
ensuring that students get five more minutes of instruction time. I hear adults
saying things like, yeah, well today we're competing with the rest of the
world and we're falling behind". What? What are we so afraid of?
Back in our day we had recess, art, PE, field day, kickball, etc. and we did
just fine. Why is everyone so mean? And this obsession with Common Core
standards and rigor is just continuing the problem. Please, stop saying that
they're only standards. Along with the corporate driven assessment craze,
they determine what is taught in the classroom, to the exclusion of anything
else that isn't on the test.
“If Finnish schools are so great, why isn't Finland a world
leader?”What do you mean by “world leader?”
It’s certainly no leader when it comes to forcing its military onto other
nations, but it is a world leader when it comes to education, health care,
social safety net, and quality of life.When Newsweek Magazine ranked
nations in 2010, it ranked Finland number one.For a country with
only about five and a half million people, it’s doing pretty well.
That’s the about the population of Colorado.
@ GaryO:You forgot to mention that Finland, the country you want to
emulate so badly, also has one of the highest suicide rates in the free-world.
Something to think about before jumping in with both feet... the way you often
seem prone to do. But anything to demean conservatives... even with false
pretenses and using no common sense. That's been your agenda for quite some
time, as witnessed by your continual comments.
Recess sounds fine. But what about just doing some sort of break. I remember
liking Art when I was a kid. If I didn't have to study, I'd work on
building, sculpting, drawing, designing or otherwise doing something I wanted to
do. Going outside was rarely what I wanted to do. Recess can mean,
a recession, a walking back from, a change in what you were doing before. Public school was never really much of a challenge for me (private
school was). Students can learn more in far less time if given the option of
doing self-paced learning with discernible goals (one of which is getting done
with the the stuff you didn't like, so you could do the stuff you DO
like).Start with a paced model of 45/15, and then let the kid
self-select as capacity and concentration increases. Forget structured PE. Big
waste of time. All you need is a walk-around break.