Why some school students should study in the afternoon and on Saturdays

The second shift and six-day week in schools — it's right and convenient

Why some school students should study in the afternoon and on Saturdays
Photo: kzn.ru

A new school year is coming. Parents, teachers, scientists and child psychologists again cross swords: is it permissible for a child to study in the second shift? Do schools need to totally switch to a five-day period so that children have time to rest, or does a six-day school week bring more benefits? Against the background of the lack of places in schools for the education of all children in one shift, the issue becomes particularly acute. There is also the problem of six-day school week, which some regions are trying to shrink to five days. Realnoe Vremya tried to address these issues from the unpopular side and found arguments in favour of options that cause rejection of the bellicose majority. Besides, the newspaper has prepared practical advice to parents of students who go to study in the second shift.

Tatiana Chernigovskaya: “It is necessary to conduct research”

As a rule, one answer follows after the question — “in what shift should the child study?”: in the first one! End of the story. Young mothers, officials from education, children's ombudsman, even Vladimir Putin are firm and categorical. But are they right? And is it possible one truth (read — equalization) for all our children? So smart and beautiful and different?

Tatiana Chernigovskaya, the renowned neurolinguist and psychologist, Professor of St. Petersburg State University, believes that before answering this question, it is necessary to conduct full-scale research.

“Personally, I think that it is better to study in the morning because in the morning a person learns the material more effectively. But as a specialist, I believe that before answering this question, it is necessary to conduct full-scale research,” she said in an interview with Realnoe Vremya. “At the same time, it will be very difficult to obtain unambiguous results because of the individual characteristics of each child. We can not compare the features of comprehension of the material in “owls” and “larks” — it's like to conduct a comparative study of ducks and cats.”

The second shift is the ideal option for children-athletes

Meanwhile, the head of the Association of Children's Neuropsychologists of Moscow, Alfiya Izmaylova, believes that learning in the afternoon for many children is good, not evil.

First. Different children have different features of the nervous system: there have always been individual biorhythms, “owls” and “larks” are not only among adults. Everyone has different workability, efficiency, depletion of the nervous system. So, it is best to study in the second half of the day, the brain “wakes up” only in the afternoon.

Second. The topic of physical health is important. For children who often get ill, the priority is cold training procedures and sports in the morning: if they study in the first shift, they do not have time for exercise or full morning hygiene, Alfiya Khasanovna told us:

“In this regard, it is better to study in the afternoon, and this does not mean that the child should sleep until lunch. Ideally, they should get up early in the morning, do gymnastics. By the way, if the child is aimed at serious sports and goes to the section, then for his nervous system the scheme with the second shift at school is suitable. In the morning, the student goes in for sports, he gets a good charge for the whole day, and in the afternoon switching from physical activity to mental work will allow better learn information at school. Conversely, if the child goes to the sports section in the evening, his nervous system is overexcited, it will be more difficult to fall asleep and fully relax.”

Third. An important aspect, about which the neuroscientist says, is nutrition. When children study in the first shift, they often do not have time to have breakfast, and the quality of school lunches — it is also a byword. All this has a negative impact on metabolism: Alfiya Khasanovna said that the first meal (breakfast) gives the maximum saturation of the body with nutrients because at this time the absorption of food is more intense. Besides, it is scientifically proven that the regular consumption of breakfast cereals from cereal crops improves the efficiency of the brain by 13%.

“In the evening, metabolism slows down, dense food is digested worse. But if a child learns in the first shift, his or her main meal falls on dinner. The result may be a metabolic disorder. This will have a direct impact on brain activity and on somatic aspects: for example, children who do not have breakfast and hastily eat lunch, they more often than others are subject to unhealthy corpulence.”

When children study in the first shift, they often does not have time to have breakfast, and the quality of school lunches — also a byword. Photo: Daria Turtseva

Izmaylova notes that even for “larks” the second shift can often turn into a blessing: we are talking about future graduates who are preparing for the state exam with the help of tutors. If the child learns better in the morning, it is better to throw this resource on a priority task — individual lessons with tutors, and in the afternoon already to be engaged in regular lessons.

Fourth. Finally, another aspect with which the Association of Children's Neuropsychologists works is the antisocial behaviour of adolescents. Alfiya Khasanovna says:

“If a child has deviant behaviour and signs of antisocial behaviour, then in the afternoon, when all kinds of temptations are greatest and “bad company” is active, it is better for him to be in school. The second shift in this regard is salvation for many families. After all, in the morning it is more difficult for a teenager to find an opportunity and a company to, for example, smoke or take alcohol.”

Early morning wake-up cause chronic sleep deprivation

Elena Legasova, a child psychologist, says: it is difficult to answer the question of what is preferable. But she definitely disagrees with parents' panic about the second shift. Of course, it has its drawbacks: for example, with wrong time management, the second half of the day the child becomes overloaded. Children do not like the second shift because there is not enough time to walk and sit at the computer. Also, parents are forced to solve the problem of meeting the child from school in the dark. But there are advantages to such a schedule. For example, Elena refers to them the opportunity to sleep enough:

“When lessons begin in the afternoon, there is no need to get up early, and this is definitely a plus. American scientists have proved that the transfer of school hours to a later time has a positive effect on the health and academic performance of children because early awakenings cause chronic sleep deprivation. In addition, in the winter, the waking-up falls on the dark, and this has a bad effect on the performance of the child's body. In the second shift, the school material is learned easier and better because the children have already woken up and do not sleep at their desks.”

Another advantage of studying in the afternoon the psychologist sees that the child with such a scheme quickly learns the skills of independence: he needs to gather himself, without assistance, have lunch, finish the lessons, get dressed. Thus, the student learns self-organization and discipline. By the way, when training in the second shift, it was recorded a decrease in the number of being late, and this is good for the general discipline in the classroom.

Finally, children in the second shift are less likely to catch infectious diseases: on the way to school, they have less contact with people (this is especially true for those students who go to school by public transport).

How to safely survive the transition to the second shift

Elena Legasova gave parents of students who begin to study in the second shift some practical advice. She says that if you make the right daily routine — the child will have time for everything.

  • If the student goes to school at the second shift, in August do not allow him or her to sleep until lunch. Shift the wake-up time gradually.
  • Teach your child to divide homework into those that may require adult help and that need to be done in the evening (written tasks on a draft, learn poems, rules), and in the morning it is easier to finish, read, rewrite in a notebook.
  • Write and draw with your child on a sheet of drawing paper daily routine, where you can attach reminder stickers. Determine the rise time, for breakfast, lunch, lessons, walks, school preparation. It is necessary to evenly distribute the time, giving the student the opportunity to fully relax and work productively.

About six-day academic week

The discussion that the six-day school week does not leave time for students to relax has been going on for a long time. We talked with Elena Germanovna Skobeltsyna, the director of the Lyceum named after Lobachevsky at the Kazan Federal University. She believes that a six-day school week in modern society is the best option for secondary and high school students:

“I am definitely in favour of a six-day school week at school. I believe that this load corresponds to the age characteristics of children and contributes to the formation of a fully developed personality. In the five-day period, the intensity of training decreases. At the same time, the primary task of the school is to create such an environment that students are interested in it. Our students spend the whole day in the lyceum on Saturdays and no one complains about the increased load.”

But many parents are in favour of a five-day period, so that children can spend more time with the family.

Let's be realistic. Not every family has the tradition of cultural leisure. The time has passed every family necessarily in the winter weekend went on ski trips, and in the summer — went camping on a river bank. Before talking about the five-day academic week, you must first think about what teenagers will do in their free time. Everyone knows that modern students, especially if we talk about adolescence, spend most of their free time “in the arms” with gadgets. Teenagers receive a lot of excessive information from the Internet, which is often unsafe. Therefore, I believe that the school should become a kind of interest club for the child, in which classes are purposefully organized on Saturdays to meet the needs of the teenager in full self-development.

But what about the fact that students are forced to spend a lot of time for lessons because of the six-day school week?

Yes, many parents complain that children do lessons until the morning. But most often this is the result of the fact that students themselves incorrectly organize their time: they postpone the preparation of lessons until the last day and then have to do everything urgently. I believe that the ability to manage one's time correctly is a key human competence in the twenty-first century. Therefore, time management is necessary to introduce into the school curriculum, at least in part, in the framework of different disciplines. In the new academic year at the lyceum, we will introduce elements of time management at all levels of training in an experimental mode.

By Lyudmila Abramova