Today, studies show that mid-lesson interventions and brain breaks can boost a student’s level of understanding and engagement during a lesson. But, not all breaks are the same. Some are referred to as brain breaks, others come in the form of interventions allowing students to take their learning to the next level. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look a the benefits of mid-lesson breaks. We’ll also highlight some of the different types of breaks and how to implement them effectively.
The Benefits of Taking Mid-Lesson Breaks
Mid-lesson breaks can help students emotionally and physically. Here are some of the key benefits:
A Time for Processing Memories
When we take a short break from an activity, our brains aren’t idle. Instead, they’re processing what we’ve learned. Today, studies show that when our brain is in a state of rest, it is still highly active. During this phase, the brain is using different regions compared to when it is focused on the outside world. Additionally, this time is crucial for reflecting on experiences and memories. With the above in mind, mid-lesson brain breaks are a great way to allow students to soak in what they’ve just learned.
Reduce Disruptive Behavior
Mid-lesson breaks can do far more than help students absorb a lesson. Taking short physical breaks during a lesson is proven to reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom, especially when it comes to younger students. Moreover, these short breaks can also improve on-task behavior, meaning kids put more into the activity and lesson that you’re teaching them.
Encourages Overall Health
Teachers should implement frequent short breaks during lessons in order to lower stress levels. This can, in turn, reduce the chance of students acquiring other serious health conditions in the long run. For example, anxiety and depression. Whatsmore, activities such as exercise and meditation are great for both physical and mental health.
The Different Types of Breaks and How to Implement Them Effectively
While mid-lesson breaks are great for both students and teachers, knowing which type of break to implement at what time is very important. After all, you may want to implement a break to avoid disruptive behavior. You may also want to give your students time to reflect on a topic you just taught them.
Here are three different types of breaks and how to implement them effectively:
Introduce New Materials
As a teacher, you need to learn how to read your audience. Just because you have created plans for your individual lessons doesn’t mean you can’t veer away from them if you think they’re not working. You may also find that your lesson goes off on a relevant tangent because your students are highly engaged with the topic.
Either way, this is a great opportunity to take a break from the lesson and encourage the introduction of new input. For example, you could pause the lesson for a group discussion. By implementing this type of break from the lesson plan, students will generate new questions, often leading to a burst of intellectual energy in the room.
Provide Immediate Assessment of Student Work
Teachers often give feedback at the end of a lesson. They also do so in writing on assignments. By doing so, students don’t have the time to ask questions to better understand the feedback and act on it. By providing immediate assessment of student work during lessons, you can reduce errors from being repeated.
By pausing the lesson at the right time and providing actionable feedback, you’re giving students the chance to adjust their thinking to better understand the activity at hand. You can also introduce this type of break during group work. For example, if students are working in groups, pause their activity. Then, encourage them to give each other feedback on how they’re collaborating individually and as a group. They will then have time to improve their work quality for the duration of the task.
Students who know what the end goal is are far better equipped to learn the skills they need to achieve it. However, the only way to learn the right processes is through self-reflection. Without taking a break to give students the chance to think about the feedback you give them, they can’t create an action plan to reach the desired outcomes you set for them.
These types of self-reflection breaks should give students the chance to think back on what they’ve done. By doing so, they have the chance to set themselves new individual goals before resuming the work they’re doing.
Implement Exercise Breaks
The most effective breaks incorporate some form of physical movement. According to studies, this activates neurological pathways which in turn allows the different parts of the brain to better work together. Luckily, there are various ways you can incorporate physical activity into the classroom without causing complete chaos. Aside from star jumps and other light exercises, you can also incorporate a few daily yoga poses into your lessons. You could also end these with a minute of meditation to get your students focused again.
While all these types of breaks can help with various aspects of your lessons, it’s important that you implement them in the correct way and at the right time. By working with a team of experienced professionals, you’ll learn all the techniques you need to keep your students engaged throughout your lessons, thus giving them the best chance at academic success.
To learn more about the specific types of breaks and how to implement them, stay tuned for next week’s blog post.