Reducing class time raises questions about impact on students

School schools
(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Reducing class duration in public high schools was received with mixed feelings by parents and teachers. While some hailed the move as worthy, since students will not be overwhelmed with information, others said the class duration is insufficient for students to engage in discussions in packed classrooms.اضافة اعلان

Last week, the Ministry of Education said in a circular that classes in government schools operating a two-shift system was reduced by 10 minutes to 35 minutes to accommodate the two shifts.

The decision was prompted by Jordan opting to maintain the daylight saving time throughout the year, which some have objected to, on grounds that schoolchildren will be forced to be in school while it is dark and cold in the winter mornings. The ministry responded by deferring start of classes by 30 minutes to 8:30am.

Educational expert Mamdouh Al-Hawari told Jordan News that he supports the decision to reduce the class period, and finds that it must be applied even to schools operating a single shift.

He noted that the reduction of the class period has a positive impact on the “student’s willingness to fully absorb the information received in the class”.

Some scientific studies show that the student’s uptake rate from 8am to 12pm hours is much better than those taken after that, according to Hawari.  “Thus, reducing the class time  gives the student a higher focus on the information received to understand it better,” he said.

Fatima Mohammad, a teacher at a public school operating two shifts, objected to the decision. “It’s not right,” she told Jordan News.

“A student is entitled to have a good duration of time to learn,” she added.

“The 45-minute-classes were sufficient, since students were given their right to get the information they needed and to discuss, inquire, and ask for explanation of material or information they did not understand,” she explained.

Mohammad pointed out that a bit of time is wasted at the start of each class until students settle in. The first 10 minutes of each lesson are consumed in gathering and bringing students to the classroom, preparing learning tools and welcoming them,” she said.
Some scientific studies show that the student’s uptake rate from 8am to 12pm hours is much better than those taken after that, according to Hawari.
Therefore, “with the reduced time now, students will get only 25 minutes for each lesson,” she added .

Abu Ahmad, a father of three children in a public school, told Jordan News that when the duration of the class was 45 minutes, the time was insufficient for students to understand the educational content accurately. “So, can you imaging how it’s going to be like with only 35 minutes?“ he asked.

He explained that overcrowded classrooms make it very difficult for all the students to have quality time asking questions. “This may lead students to misunderstand the education material they receive,” he pointed out.

Housewife Um Ibrahim, a mother of two children in a public school, told Jordan News that some subjects, such as mathematics obligate students to fully understand the lesson in the classroom because they have nobody to help them at home.

She explained that teachers are also better qualified to explain the lesson than parents.  “Therefore, reducing the duration of the class makes the task of answering scientific questions and re-explaining the material harder on parents,” she noted.

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