Best Practice

Circadian rhythms in the classroom

Starting the school day at 10am to better suit teenagers’ circadian rhythms is not a practical option. As such, Dr Nicola Davies looks at what we can do within the classroom instead

It is your morning class and you are faced by the all-too-familiar droopy eyes and sleepy yawns. Your students are struggling to focus and however hard you try to engage them, it is difficult to get them to wake up enough to follow the lesson, let alone actively participate in their learning.

We are all guilty of accusing teenagers of being lazy. According to Dr Steven Lockley, an associate professor from Harvard Medical School, “the impact of early school times on adolescents is not understood by most educators”.

He continued: “A common belief is that adolescents are tired, irritable and uncooperative because they choose to stay up too late, or are difficult to wake in the morning because they are lazy.”

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