Longer school recesses aim to bring big benefits for students
Esra Ülkar – ANTALYA
The Turkish Education Ministry’s “40 minutes class, 40 minutes break” pilot project has been launched in 14 schools in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
Within the scope of the 2023 Education Vision of the ministry, the inaugurated pilot projects rearrange times allotted for breaks and leisure activities and aim to contribute to the development of children in primary education.
During the 40-minute recess, children have the chance to participate in many activities from chess to badminton and even sign up for language courses.
As for physical activities, children are able to undergo martial arts trainings during their prolonged playtime, with judo classes drawing most attention.
“They [children] come running as soon as the bell rings. We are attempting to make gifted students licensed athletes,” Kadir Altınok, the judo instructor of one of the pilot schools, has told daily Hürriyet.
Apart from sports, children also have the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument during their prolonged break.
“Music classes are an hour long in schools. With this [prolonged break], children can study music for four hours. Plus, we are able to discover new talents,” said Gizem Tural, a music teacher at Hacı Mehmet Saygın Primary School in Antalya’s Kemer district.
Children who have been discovering their areas of interest are quite enthusiastic about the 40-minute-long breaks.
“Forty minutes of recess is much better. I have enough time to fulfill my needs. I go out to get some fresh air when I get tired. I play chess, do judo and kick-box,” a student at the school told daily Hürriyet.
“I play the piano and violin, both which I dreamt of playing when I was younger. I like this project, I want it to continue,” another student stressed.
But class teachers say fundamental classes are getting interrupted and dropping student productivity and efficiency.
“I think productivity in classes has decreased. The classes get interrupted and our morning classes have contracted in terms of hours. Children used to be more energetic, but because they play so much, they get tired more easily,” said Yağmur Dağ, a class teacher.
“Children can have hard time adapting to classes after 40 minutes of recess. It is a fact that these [activities] would socially develop the children, but we need to discuss their benefits and harms to the education,” said Sinan Gül, another class teacher who also teaches students how to play chess.
Hacı Mehmet Saygın Primary School’s principal Ali Yıldız stressed that both the children and their parents are quite happy about the project.
He said that children before would not know how to manage their recess time, contemplating between going to the toilet or canteen or playing games.
“Now, they come out of classes joyfully. We are also observing the skills of the students,” he said.