It is quite often that teachers find their students fidgety and distracted after twenty minutes of continuous classes without a break. This action hints at distractedness and boredom of a tired mind that genuinely needs a ‘brain break’.
What is a brain break?
A brain break is a short mental break that is taken during regular intervals in class to help improve the attention and concentration of the student. Mostly, brain breaks are limited to five minutes and work best when physical activities are incorporated.
When to take brain breaks?
The best time to take a brain break is before, during or after a class activity. The sole purpose of this activity is to get students refocused and ready to learn again. For example, if a teacher has finished a lesson on math counting, he/she can ask the students to count the number of steps on a staircase or the number of straight lines in a window grill, etc. as it helps prepare children for the next activity. This also helps in maintaining classroom management and will keep the students focused and ready for the next activity.
For smaller children, teachers can conduct an activity every 5-10 minutes or whenever they notice them getting distracted. For older students, teachers can plan an activity every 20-30 minutes.
What can be done during the brain breaks-
Teachers can have a three-minute dance party wherein the students most favourite song is put and they dance to their favourite tunes. This works best with younger children who are in preschool.
Play Mingle where a timer for a minute can be set that lasts for the five-minute break. Each time the timer goes off, the students will have to mingle with someone new.
Conducting activities such as ‘following the leader’ where each student takes turns to don the role of a leader.
Skywriting is also said to be another great way for young students to practice their spelling and vocabulary words. All they have to do is choose a word and write it in the sky.
Pass the ball is also another way to gain the attention of the student where a ball is passed from one student to another to help them focus better in class.
Importance of brain breaks
As important as it is to teach students, it is also essential to provide them sufficient amount of breaks that will help them to focus better. Brain breaks help reduce stress and increases the amount of productivity among students while garnering divergent thinking (the ability to generate and make sense of novel ideas). It also helps them to remain creative and adds to their cognitive development.
Thus, it is important for teachers to provide their students with a sufficient amount of breaks that will help them focus better in class.