The words; “Let’s take a break!’ or ‘Its break time!’ whether they are heard at school or in a meeting are forever welcome. Back in the day, schools would breaks would be as long as thirty minutes- and we were not any worse for taking them. In fact we were able to burn up all the energy and leave just enough for the classes. Over the years, the break time has decreased so tremendously that some schools now have ten to fifteen minutes of break time in the bid to study ‘hard’ but are the learners better off? Do they retain more of the information because of the shorter breaks? Read on and make your judgement based on evidence.
Research has proven that when breaks are taken at regular interval, the brain is well powered to be able to execute its functions. During this break, the brain is enabled to effectively process the information it has gathered appropriately as opposed to jumbling it up if it is forced to memorise it in a short period without a break. Clearly conducting lesson after lesson or reading or revising consistently without taking breaks is detrimental to the memory part of the brain.
Some curriculums such as the British curriculum require that students move from one lesson to the other to find the teachers in their rooms. One of the major advantages of this strategy is that students get to take a five - minute break while moving. This enables the brain to relax as well as processthe recently acquired information from the short term memory and store it in the long term memory.
Ways to take breaks.
- Taking several deep breaths right from down your stomach will ensure that you have a lot of oxygen running in your blood. When the well oxygenated red blood cells reach the brain, they aid it to work very efficiently – which you want it to do. So go ahead and take that breath! Your memory will improve greatly!
- Take a walk outside if you can or change the venue for a while. You can walk up and down the room too. If you are at your desk and it is impossible to leave it; you can do simple exercises that get your blood moving such as rotating your shoulders or rolling your eyes and then closing them.
- Be creative and get that blood moving!
Lois Nakibuuka is an educator and counsellor