A Critical Essay On The Effectiveness Of Long Class Hours In School

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The essay entitled “The Effectiveness of Long Class Hours” is about the consequences of the number of class hours implemented in the formerly known Ateneo de Manila High School, more specifically the 50 minutes allotted per subject. In the essay, the argument is divided into three main topics: Length of School Hours; The Problem; and The Effects, all of which are directed to elaborating how the current duration of classes and of school brings harm to the students.

The proposed consequences of having such a system are the impact to the students’ academic and non-academic skills, physical fatigue, and effects on the teachers and the whole administration. This critical essay will point out flaws in the arguments as well as provide suggestions on what can be looked into regarding the issue on school hours. Though the paper succeeds in meeting the standards of breadth, clarity and precision, it lacks in substantial logic and depth regarding the issue at hand.

Firstly, the essay does not fail when it comes to its precision. In order to provide evidence of the daily hours in school, the start and dismissal times for each year were stated.. It was also quick to point out the exclusion of extra curricular activities in order to make a point on the amount of time spent in school by students.

Other aspects that were sufficient in the essay are the clarity and breadth from the points made. In the section of Length of a School Day, it was adequate in explaining why the dismissal times were so and why they vary between days, sections and batches, such as the CSIP requirements. It was able to clarify that students come to school earlier than 7:45am and arriving home later than their respective dismissal times, which reduce the amount of time that can be spent at home.

Another point to consider is the attempt at breadth from the arguments made. It not only took the perspective of the students, but it also considered the teachers involved, who form and educate the students, and even considers how the issue affects the school administration. Despite promise from the essay’s precision, clarity and breadth, they are not perfect nor can they cover its overall failure to uphold depth and logic in the issue.

In regards to the complexities of the issue, the amount of time spent in class, and ultimately the amount of time spent in school, there are still aspects that have not been fully explored or considered by the essay. It has looked into the harmful implications of staying in school for 8 or more hours a day, such as lack of time for non-school related activities and too much workload pressed upon the students. Yet in The Problem section of the essay, the given reasons for why the amount of hours in school brings about negative effects are not valid enough points.

Boredom, for example, in the classroom is the result of the student usually lacking initiative to listen. Though the classes are most of the time lectures, it is also the student’s role to actively listen to the teacher. There are cases when the class has become stale and the teacher does most of the talking, so the students should try to retain the information through listening or note taking. What teachers do, at least in the ones in Ateneo, is frequently ask questions to make sure that the class understands what is being presented to them and is open to any questions for the duration of the class. They usually refer this method of teaching and inquiry the Socratic method.

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What does give complexity to the problem is how the issue affects not only the students but also the teachers and the school, though this was not elaborated as much. Despite the attempt at breadth, points about the implications the issue has on teachers was not given enough detail so it remained similar to the problems faced by students, not giving the issue more complexities that were not already stated. In short, the essay did not delve into what the number of school hours could bring about beyond academics and fatigue, and instead relied on more common notions of the effects of long school hours.

If each paragraph as looked at individually, they would make sense on their own, but when compiled together in the essay, they do not strongly support the thesis statement. It was stated in the conclusion that the manner of teaching and students’ attention span would not greatly affect the main issue if it they were altered or attended to. What this does is lose the basis of one of the main points of the essay, that because of the long hours in school boredom is prevalent among students. If the amount of hours would remain the same, and the amount of time per period is unchanged, according to the essay the increased cases of boredom and and drop in academic performance will still prevail.

The main purpose of the essay is to inform about the negative effects of school hours, but it is in the Effects portion of the paper that not enough connection between points was established. In the case of the students, people who go to extra curricular activities spend more time in school, thus have less time to finish requirements, meaning they need to sacrifice sleep, which adds up and leads to sleep deprivation, burnout and fatigue. A quick succession of effects that would almost fall under the slippery slope fallacy. While the last three are detrimental to a student’s performance in and out of school, it was not properly backed up by the statements said before it. In fact, they are the points that should have been elaborated more since the reasons why they are a problem should have been discussed in the previous paragraphs, instead it reiterates details said before.

Another leap of logic made is that it was assumed that because of the long school hours, students did not have time to develop their talents and skills outside of academics. But it also mentioned the existence of extra curricular activities, which are avenues for students to enrich said talents and skills. Instead, the essay portrays it as just more time to be spent in school.

In addition to that, the succeeding points made about the effects the issue has on teachers and the school is also lacking in coherence and logic with respect to previous points made. The teachers are understandably busy with their own workload, preparation for their classes, handling their students and so much more that students usually don’t get to know. Yet previously in the paper it was mentioned that the efforts of both student and teacher would be wasted due to the 50 minute periods, how the students deal with it is also mentioned, but not how the teachers are able to cope with it.

This lack of parallelism to one of the main points of the essay shows important gaps in logic when discussing how the issue affects the people involved in the education of students. When it comes to the effects the issue has on the school itself, it attempts to connect the previous points about the effects on the students and the teachers, but it was not gracious in its approach. The impact on academic performance leads to the impact on the school’s rating and the decision of students not to join any extra curricular activities. Which in turn goes against the vision of Ateneo mentioned in the beginning of the essay.

And since the students spend a lot of time in school, facilities are being used more. The teachers are also being paid more to work for longer due to the amount of hours spent in school teaching, moderating, organizing, etc. And because of these, the school has no choice but to raise the tuition fee for students. None of these were explained in more than one sentence so they are mainly cause and effect scenarios with not much reason to their cause nor their effect. Nor were they made with respect to the previous statements mentioned. The performance rating of the school nor the financial status of the school did not need to be included as they did not have much bearing from either the body or the thesis statement.

The more logical approach to this would be to optimize the amount of time given in school. It is mainly up to the students on how they choose to deal with the 50 minute periods. Some may find it detrimental, others may see it as an opportunity to learn as much as they can. Shortening the amount of time alloted for each period would not yield much results. Another subject could just be added into the schedule to retain the 8 hours spent in school also to uphold the vision of the Ateneo that, by the words of Fr. Nabres S.J, “seeks to form people to develop their talents…”

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