Rights for recess

Emma Decasa, Editorial Board Member

What do we want? Recess! When do we want it? In high school, please.
Yes, recess. Every elementary student’s favorite part of the school day. As a kid, you likely looked forward to recess more than anything, seeing as it was a break from school to see your friends and play on the playground. It may seem like recess could be a distraction in the school day, but it’s clear that recess actually works to reset students’ focus.
High school students go through six to seven straight hours of schooling that require an extreme amount of focus and brain stimulation. Lunch is usually considered our break, but more often than not, that break is only a short half an hour that some students use to quickly study or get last-minute work done. Not only is this a draining process to go through every weekday, but it can be even more difficult to stay motivated and focused when loads of homework seem to extend that time of schooling.
However, long breaks in the day may not be a solution to this. Sitting around for a longer amount of time could deter focus, but shorter breaks, similar to that of elementary recess breaks, will allow students to take some time to let their brains rest for a little bit during class. This time could also bring about higher rates of productivity and memorization. Allowing small breaks during each lesson gives students time to process the information they had just learned and consolidate that knowledge.
During this reformed “recess”, students wouldn’t have normal outside play time we had when we were younger. It would be more of a small breather periodically during each class where students can walk around or talk to others. In order to keep their brains stimulated, the breaks would be best scheduled for five to ten minutes in the middle of each class period.
Some may see the proposed idea of high school recess as an excuse for students to doze off and socialize on their phones, but integrating breaks during lessons will bring students together to talk and interact. Boosting social interaction isn’t always the goal in a classroom, but it builds social skills that can increase cooperation and teamwork both in and out of the classroom. It also gives them a chance to discuss lessons or exchange ideas.
So while recess in the traditional sense of the word isn’t what high schoolers need perse, breaks are still essential to improving their learning. Quick breaks during the day are exactly what may be needed to help the students of our generation find their focus in the classroom. Even then, some time on the swings couldn’t hurt every now and then.