As a junior in high school, I have noticed what type of classroom atmospheres most students learn from, and what doesn’t work. They can range from students being lectured at to a classroom completely run by the students.
As a student, having a teacher talk to you about one subject for 45 minutes at a time is the most inefficient way a student can learn.
According to TIME magazine, students focus for about three to four minutes spurts at a time getting distracted easily. A study was done and cited saying that in a 20 minutes presentation, students only remember the first 15 minutes and zone out on the last 5.
Therefore, if a teacher tries to stand in the front of a classroom for 45 minutes and expects students to be able to retain everything they said, they will be disappointed by the outcome.
A little bit of interaction with the students greatly benefits them because they are engaged in the conversation. Whether this is an activity, or just a group conversation that the students are required to talk for a grade.
Instead of talking for 45 minutes straight, maybe teachers should try a new style of talking for 15 minutes and then for the next five have the students see how what they just learned applies to the real world and understand how they can use what they just learned.
I think the most effective classroom atmosphere is one where a teacher has the students lead the class discussion. Some would argue that there would only be a specific group of students that talked the whole time, but if the other students know that they have to participate to get the grade, then that would help decrease the chance of this happening.
By doing a class discussion, or “fish bowl” as some teachers call it, students one prevented from zoning out because their classmates are constantly talking and they have an opportunity to share what they have to say.
After coming to the conclusion that students have an average attention span of 10 to 15 minutes at a time, maybe lectures aren’t the best choice for students, or they should be broken up into sections for easier consumption.