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Lesson Length

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Redroses22, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    During the last few months I have been observing in several different schools in preparation for my PGCE, and noticed that several of the schools have had quite different lessons lengths for example some have been 5 one hour long lessons, whilst another was 8, thirty five minute long lessons a day.

    I was just wondering what other peoples experience has been on lesson lengths, which have worked best and at what types of schools?
  2. I have had 5x1 hour lessons, 6x50 minute lessons and currently we have 3x100 minute lessons. After doing all three I prefer 6x 50 mins. It is possible to get an experiment done with the write up and decent plenary. One hundred minutes is awful especially with lower ability kids. It is ok to have the odd 100 mins especially with a top set year 10 or 11. but all low ability is best with 50 mins.

    Basically 100 mins is HELL.

  3. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I have had eight 35 min lessons (but some were doubles - which were very long), five 1 hour lessons and now we have six 50 min lessons. Occasionally we have a double 50 mins which is really bad.

    A lot depends when lunch is - it is much better to have as short an afternoon as possible
    I think I prefer the 50 min ones - although I did feel when we swapped from one hour ones that I was working harder - I felt I had to prepare about the same amount of stuff as I did for an hour, but there were 6 lessons instead of five.

    Certainly anything over an hour is far too long.
    If there are going to be doubles then I would go for 35 mins - otherwise 50 mins.
  4. finamar

    finamar New commenter

    For practical subjects you need longer lessons: 50 minutes would not be enough. We have 5 x 1hr lessons which is good but even better when we have doubles for KS4.
  5. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I think this is the problem - different subjects ideally need differing amounts of time.

    Obviously, as you say, practical subjects need longer whereas for learning a language you need little and often.

    I HATE having doubles for languages lessons and the pupils always flag part-way through - no matter how many parts/activities I put into the lesson.

    Inevitably though if the kids misbehave and say they were fed up, then it's my fault for not making it interesting enough.
  6. I've experienced mostly 5 x 1 hour lessons (which usually wound up being 50-55 minutes because of a lack of travel time built in to the school day- fine in the very small school I was in; rubbish in anything large). Doubles for technology (all years), drama/music/art (KS4), Science/English (KS4) and languages and humanities (KS4). Never seen a double for PE, despite a lot of PE teachers I've spoken to virtually begging for it.
    Just about to move to a school with 3 x 100 minute lessons- very excited: I struggle to fit what I want to teach into an hour quite often, so this should be good :D
  7. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    [​IMG]Just shows how different we all are! The idea of 100 minute lessons would fill me with dismay.
  8. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter

    I have taught in schools with 8 40-minutes lessons (one year only), 6 48-minute lessons, 6 50-minute lessons, 6 52-53 minute lessons, 5 60-minute lessons and 4 72-minute lessons. The last was the worst. The teachers hated it, and the students got less done than they had in the previous 48-munite lessons. 50-minute lessons are the best in my experience as an English and history teacher. My last school, prior to the 72-minutes hell, combined doubles and singles; e.g., all year 11 and 12 classes, almost all year 10 classes and all English classes had two doubles and five singles a fortnight, while years 7-9 prac subjects had one double and one single a week. It is a legal requirement here now that students have 300 minutes of instruction a day, though many schools ignore this.
  9. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    I've worked in 3 schools with standard 5 x 1hr lessons, although much of that was in one where we had 2 lessons after lunch. This wasn't so bad though as it was a middle school rather than having tetchy hormonal Yr 10s!
    One of my teaching practice schools had either 36 or 37min long lessons (weirdly though they started at 9am and finished at 3.30pm!, was weird having to figure out that your lesson ended at 10.03 for example!
    Where I work now we have 35min lessons. Some of which in my subject (Maths) are doubles, which are slightly too long. 35min does not allow you to do a 3 part lesson properly, but I probably could if we had 45min lessons. We do have 5min between back to back lessons for moving time, so that makes a double 5 min longer! I do usually let the children leave half way through a double for a drink/loo breakl Gets some of the fidget out of the younger/less able ones!
    I am the timetabler in my current school and we did think about changing things, but we couldn't make it work with games and lunch sessions (we have lunch spread out from 12pm to 2.15pm because of the size of the dining room & 1hr for games is not long enough)
  10. We have 7 lessons of 45 minutes, it was proposed last year that we moved to a 6 lesson day but prac subjects - Sci and DT were against. The problem I find is the movement between lessons. The mornings are a problem in particular; 8.45-9.30/9.30-10.15/10.15-11.00. If the class are moving from the other end of the building, they can be upto 10 min late. 10 min late per lesson over a week is a lot of wasted time!
  11. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Andy - when do you have lunch and break - does the afternoon seem long?
  12. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    My preference is 5 x 1 hour lessons. I have also worked in schools which did 6 x 50 min and 8 x 35 min. One thing which was noticeable in the school which moved from 5 x 1 hour to 6 x 50 minutes is that the preparation time increased even though we were teaching the same amount of time due to prepraring more lessons.
  13. We have 90 minute lessons - which I think are right. just about to abandon them for 60 minute lessons - apparently some departments can't cope with planning good 90 minute lessons. Hmm
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I came across one school which had 20 minute "modules" - departments could then ask for 40/60/80/100 as suited them, although I suspect timetabling was probably a nightmare (and the school, now bigger, has abandoned the system).
    Another creative idea I saw was before break, having 30,25,30,25,30. That way, you can have two 55s and a 30 (assembly, tutor period, numeracy/literacy skills programme) or a 55 and an 85 (used mostly for KS4 option blocks).
  15. GrahamLawler

    GrahamLawler New commenter

    check this out and pass it on to other PGCE stduents

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