The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

To kill a mocking-book
To kill a mocking-book
February 21, 2024

I’ll miss you, 10-minute break

Channing+25+staff+illustrator+
Channing ’25 staff illustrator

With this year’s new schedule and the implementation of homeroom, Marlborough  has done away with the break between 1:40 p.m. and 1:50 p.m. I’m not opposed to homeroom; I understand its philosophy and utility. However, the loss of this precious 10-minute pocket of time? A travesty. 

Taking away this break condenses the latter half of the day into one long learning block. At first glance, it appears that you still have a break, albeit a much shorter one. However, at Marlborough, it’s customary to arrive earlier to your next class to set up, sit down and maybe ask the teacher a quick question. Perhaps your previous class ran a few minutes over, or you stayed behind to ask a lingering question. Now, depending on where your next class is, you have to speed walk (or run) across campus to arrive in time.

Cramming two learning periods together in this way raises a myriad of problems. It not only takes away precious time to grab a snack with friends, use the restroom and meet with your teachers, but harms learning retention and creative thinking. For example, one study performed by Professor of Psychology Michael Craig at Heriot-Watt University found that young adults were twice as likely to find the hidden shortcut to a math problem when given a 10-minute break. In 2013, researchers at the National University of Singapore found that brain waves indicating mental fatigue increase during prolonged periods of sustained concentration and decrease during breaks. In this way, small breaks replenish one’s attention and enable students to prepare themselves for the next wave of information. The pause also allows teachers to take a moment and get ready for the next class. Personally, the loss of the 10-minute break often leaves me feeling drained and listless during class, especially during the final period of the day.

So what’s the solution? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. Extending the school day by five minutes would be incredibly unpopular and could interfere with extracurricular activities as well as student commutes. Starting the day five minutes earlier could raise similar problems (and reduce those precious five more minutes of sleep in the morning). Slashing a few minutes off the final class of the day is definitely off the table, considering our limited class times. It seems the School needs to continue refining the schedule to allow for adequate breaks and class time in order to maximize both productivity and student well-being.

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Maya '24, Head Copy Editor
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