by Serena Richards
Adding a study hall into our academic schedule would be beneficial for students and teachers. A study hall would give students time in the day away from traditional time on learning. It’s important to give students the opportunity to take a break and work on homework or de-stress from their academics, as well as seeking help from teachers. Unfortunately many schools in our area don’t have this period.
Most schools oppose study hall, at least in Massachusetts, because of the state law requiring 990 hours of “Time on Learning.” However, in our schedule, we are currently exceeding the 990 hours. A student at Hudson High goes to five different 70-minute blocks in one day, which adds up to 66,813 minutes of “time on learning” a year, which is equivalent to 1,113.55 hours.
Technically, our schedule allows us to take four minutes off each full day block and add a 20-minute study hall block, and we would still exceed the state’s 990 hours of time on learning. Even with five, 66-minute blocks, it makes 63,513 minutes of “time on learning” a year, which is equivalent to 1,058.55 hours, leaving us still exceeding the law.
Another major argument against a study hall is that teachers don’t see that students are working hard enough in class, so they most likely wouldn’t work during a study hall period. But many students are under so much stress from homework and projects, that they would take advantage of extra time to get help from teachers and peers if they are unable to stay after.
This became so noticeable that three sophomores last year – Lucy deMartin, Breanna Lizotte and Siobhan Richards – decided to do something about it. The group of girls who were taking Psychology decided to look into a study hall period and how it could fit in our schedule with all of the Massachusetts educational regulations. They saw it as a way to combat the stress students are developing from their class loads. For their final project they made a schedule implementing a 20-minute study hall with slightly shorter blocks to offer time for students to get help from teachers and work on their academics.
Ideally, we would implement a 20-minute study hall period right after second block. Students would first report to their third block class at 9:50, and the teacher of that class would take some form of attendance. In this time, students would be able to work on homework and projects from the seven classes they take each term, and if given permission, students could seek help from various teachers or visit the library, if given a pass.
Not only would this study hall act as a period of time for students to get help and to get organized, but it could also benefit teachers. This offers additional time for them to be able to help students who aren’t able to stay after or help those struggling in a class. It also gives the opportunity to give them extra time in the day to grade assignments and work on lesson plans.
It imperative that we allow a study hall period for students. They are at school studying and participating in active learning for nearly six hours. Then they are being assigned anywhere from two to four hours of homework based off the student’s course load. In a recent survey, given to 100 English students in 8th grade to 12th grade, 84 agreed that adding a study hall period would be helpful in furthering their education.
With all this new information, why don’t we give the students what they want?