Siem Reap, Cambodia
Age of Students:
Are you a morning person? It is easy for you to get tasks accomplished bright and early or do you like to sleep in and tackle chores in the afternoon?
Due to biology, schedule, home life, etc, everyone has a different rhythm and a better learning time. Some students are unable to focus in the morning no matter how early they go to bed – their bodies just don’t naturally wake up until later in the day [so even if they’re sitting in class with their eyes open, they aren’t fully focused]. Some students are the complete opposite – their optimal learning time is when the sun rises and they start to slow down after lunch.
What if students [or parents] had a choice of which learning time was best for them? Can a schedule like this work for students, teachers, parents, and the community?
When I was at a public school in Cambodia, I had the opportunity to talk to a teacher about the school’s split-day schedule. And although students’ schedules are pre-determined somehow, just idea of a split-day schedule and perhaps in the future letting the students chose which time is best, is worth considering…
In the same building with the same teachers and classes, there is morning school and afternoon school. The morning school runs from 07:00 to 11:00. The afternoon school runs from 13:00 [1pm] to 17:00 [5pm]. There is no lunch served at the school – the morning class eats lunch when they get home at 11:00 and the afternoon class eats lunch at home before going to school. The teachers get a nice two hour break in the middle of the day to relax, grade papers, eat lunch, decorate their classroom, run errands, etc.
Furthermore, school runs Monday through SATURDAY – students only have Sunday free [so the school hours per week work out to be about the same].
Each month, students a required to take a monthly exam. They are required to score over 50% to be considered as “passing.” If a student fails, it is their responsibility to learn the material that he/she did not understand. At the end of the semester, there is a big semester exam that covers all material. If a student failed any monthly exams, then they can fix his/her grade by doing well on the semester exams – the semester exam trumps all. However, if a student fails a lot of monthly exams and barely passes the semester exam, this does not cut it. It is determined by the teacher whether to pass the student onto the next level.
In the high school levels, this system is a bit different. Students are still required to take monthly exam and a semester exam, but if a student’s grades are borderline and a teacher is on the fence about passing him/her, then the student is required to then take an even bigger annual test to help the teacher make a decision.