De verborgen kost van lesonderbrekingen en wat er aan te doen?

Voor Corona ging een van mijn meest gelezen en gedeelde posts over wat we time on task of leertijd noemen. Al eerder schreef ik ook over het gevaar van onderbrekingen voor leren. Nieuw onderzoek van Kraft & Monti-Nussbaum (2020) bevestigt dit en toont dat er veel meer onderbrekingen zijn in de klas dan je zou vermoeden. Nu de tijd op school zo kostbaar is gebleken, een onderzoek dat extra aandacht verdient.

Kinderen die te laat komen -> onderbreking. Iemand van het secretariaat die langskomt -> onderbreking,… Maar belangrijker: de onderbreking van het leren duurt veel langer dan de tijd dat er bijvoorbeeld iets door een intercom gezegd wordt. De moeite die de leraar en leerlingen hebben om terug te draad op te nemen is er ook nog:

Maar je kan er ook iets aan doen, vat Kraft samen voor ASCD:

One encouraging finding from our study was that frequent interruptions aren’t a necessary feature of schooling. Interruptions occurred much less frequently in some schools than others, and schools have direct control over many of the most common types of interruptions. Some schools used daily assemblies and advisory periods as alternative ways to make announcements and deliver information to individual students. Administrators should consider cutting the cord of the school intercom system or only using it at a scheduled point in the day. Distracting hundreds of students to call one to the front office is educational malpractice.

Schools should also reduce classroom visits and calls to classroom phones by shifting all non-urgent communication with teachers to email or text messages. Establishing clear, schoolwide norms about when and for what purposes intercom announcements, phone calls, and classroom visits are acceptable could empower teachers to deflect these interruptions by quickly saying no to requests. Teachers might also designate a student to answer the classroom phone and place signs on their doors requesting that visitors leave a note rather than knock or pop in.

Limiting the interruptions caused by students who enter the classroom late is a thornier problem. For some school districts, student attendance is less of a concern, but for districts like Providence, it remains a major challenge. Although schools have less control over student attendance and punctuality than they do over other types of external interruptions, there are steps they can take to bolster attendance. Research suggests that more frequent communication with parents, partnering with community mentors, strengthening student-teacher relationships, and establishing regular classroom routines for late-arriving students can make a big difference (Gottfried & Hunt, 2019).

Several studies have found that sending personalized letters to parents updating them about their child’s attendance records, emphasizing parental efficacy, and highlighting the negative incremental effects of missing school can increase attendance (Robinson et al., 2018; Rogers & Feller, 2018). Teachers’ efforts to build strong relationships with their students can motivate students to attend class regularly and enter without disrupting instruction when they are late. Systems as simple as having a tray with all lesson materials available so late arrivals can easily gather materials or designating one responsible student to quietly explain to a late student what the class is doing can help latecomers more seamlessly engage with the lesson. In some schools, teachers’ aides accompany tardy students to their classes and help them get oriented to the lesson.

Abstract van het onderzoek:

Narrative accounts of classroom instruction suggest that external interruptions, such as intercom announcements and visits from staff, are a regular occurrence in U.S. public schools. We study the frequency, nature, and duration of external interruptions in the Providence Public School District (PPSD) using original data from a district-wide survey and classroom observations. We estimate that a typical classroom in PPSD is interrupted over 2,000 times per year, and that these interruptions and the disruptions they cause result in the loss of between 10 to 20 days of instructional time. Administrators appear to systematically underestimate the frequency and negative consequences of these interruptions. We propose several organizational approaches schools might adopt to reduce external interruptions to classroom instruction.

Een gedachte over “De verborgen kost van lesonderbrekingen en wat er aan te doen?

  1. Dit is op Paul's Random Thoughts / Gedachten herblogden reageerde:
    Pedro wrote this for his Dutch readership, but it’s worth spreading to English speakers. He wrote:
    For Corona, one of my most read and shared posts was about what we call time on task. Earlier I also wrote about the danger of interruptions for learning. New research by Kraft & Monti-Nussbaum (2020) shows this and shows that there are far more interruptions in the classroom than you would think. Now that time at school has been so preciously identified, this study deserves extra attention.

    Children who arrive late -> interruption. Someone from the secretariat who comes by -> interruption, … But more importantly, the interruption of learning lasts much longer than the time of the actual announcement, for example. The effort that the teacher and students have to invest to return to working is also:

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