作者：北美考试教学中心 托福写作组 崔国花
Elementary education plays an indispensable role in one’s life because it not only instills basic academic knowledge but also fosters key abilities that benefit people in the future. Therefore, course design and school timetable both draw great attention. Some people suggest that schools should arrange longer classes for kids in order to improve their concentration. However, I strongly disagree with this view. In my opinion, each class should not last more than one hour in primary school.
First of all, for children aged from 5 to 10, it is just impossible for them to focus on one thing for a long time. Some parents wish that they can improve their children’s attention span by all kinds of exercise. This is partly true. One’s abilities can be trained and strengthened but only to a certain degree. Child experts say that, on average, a 5-year-old child can focus on one thing for around 10 to 25 minutes. As to a 10-year-old kid, their attention span is around 20 to 50 minutes. In most primary schools, each class lasts 20 to 40 minutes, and teachers still need to carefully plan lessons and activities so that they can make their students focus on learning. However, it is not uncommon to hear elementary school teachers complain that distractions and tardiness occur in the middle of the class. In other words, one hour-long class can be quite challenging for kids, not to mention a whole morning filled with class time.
Also, longer classes will kill students’ enthusiasm for learning. Few people can bear being forced to do one thing for a long time. Even adults grumble about how badly they feel when they have to keep working on similar tasks. As to young children who do not have a clear understanding of the importance of education, they will hate studying if schools arrange classes for a whole morning without any break. For them, school time will be nothing but unlimited academic studies. No matter how much they like one or two courses at the beginning, such a long learning marathon will soon wear down their interest. On the contrary, a regular break between classes will be conducive to getting kids to like school. During those intervals, not only can they take a leave of learning, but they have chances to play with their schoolmates. Those relaxing and joyful moments can beat boredom and change kids’ attitudes about attending school.
To sum up, setting a longer class is both unpractical and detrimental. A break is needed at least every hour in elementary schools.