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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

In search of lost time

Schools need more time to "instruct, support, and engage with students," after more than two years of disruption, writes Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. They also need to make better use of learning time.

Teachers are interrupted by intercom announcements, staff visits and students entering and leaving classrooms an average of 2,000 times a year, a 2021 study in Providence, R.I found. "These interruptions wind up consuming 10 to 20 days of instructional time," Hess writes.

Paperwork, red tape and days off for testing also take time away from teaching and learning.

A Connecticut school district is seeing progress in elementary math achievement by adding up to 30 minutes a day of math instruction and making every minute count, reports Sarah Mervosh in the New York Times.

Some schools are adding afternoon tutoring or summer school, she writes. But students may not show up consistently. Meriden reorganized the school day "to maximize instruction time."

District officials had repurposed a half-hour meant for extra help on various subjects — either from teachers or through work sheets — and put that time into math.
Up and down the hallways at Franklin, math is now taught the same way: a short lesson, followed by group work. For 15 or 20 minutes, the teacher meets with some students, while others work in their own groups. Students who need extra help go with tutors, some of whom were paid for with federal pandemic relief funds.
At the ding of a chime or buzzer, students rotate.

It's very structured. Teachers have given up some autonomy.

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