Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sleepy Teens and 21st Century Possibilities

On Friday, February 18, we had the pleasure of listening to John Joseph ( for the second time in as many years. John’s specialty is “Learning with the Brain in Mind”. He also treated our parents to an evening of “Parenting with the Brain in Mind” on Thursday, February 17. He talked about the brain being a changeable system rather than a fixed one, where students can continue to grow their brain and it is not limited in what it can accomplish. He spoke about teachers being second only to the students in their “sphere of influence” in attempting to close the achievement gap (peers are third and family is fourth). And feedback for learning being one of the most important aspects teachers can provide based on John Hattie’s work from October 2003, Teachers make a difference - What is the Research Evidence.

Sleeping in Classphoto © 2007 Yuvi Panda | more info (via: Wylio)

But the main message that came out of his presentation was related to the hours of sleep that current teenagers are getting and whether it is enough. Much research stipulated that teenagers should be getting 9 hours sleep a night. 9 hours! I’m not sure many of our students today adhere to that. He also went on to say that melatonin “kicks in” for teenagers around 2:00 pm, making them tired and ready for a nap. If you have ever taught Math last period of the day, you have first-hand experience with this phenomenon. So given all of this information about teenagers, we obviously need to educate our students about the importance of sleep and sleep patterns. So my questions to think about:

· Knowing this along with the opportunities that current technologies present, how long can we continue to offer a 20th century structure to 21st century students?

· What is the best educational model for teenagers today?

· How flexible can/should the schedule be?

· How much responsibility can we put on the students?



Anonymous said...

The slight modification to our school calendar is a step closer to year round schooling and a step in the right direction according to many.

The TDSB(Toronto) and other boards have late-start programs that have some students beginning school at 10:00 a.m. or later.

"Experts" have stated that those with a late-start sleep longer and report less sleepiness during the day.

How about naps? Power naps. 10-15 minutes long.

Napping has many benefits including increased alertness, enhanced brainpower and even fewer sick days.

Many companies have endorsed the idea of napping and maybe schools should too. Pillow, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Scott, thanks again for the comment. I'm glad someone is reading the blog. The reason we put online courses in period 1 and 2 was because of the same research. It allows the students some flexibility in scheduling their time.