Charles Ames Fischer

Teacher • Author • Consultant • Mentor


The Benefits of Recess 2

Posted by Charles Fischer on December 11, 2010 at 11:19 AM

The benefits of recess can potentially extend to the teachers and staff at schools as well. I know most teachers stand around at recess and don't do much but watch, but that can be easily fixed by redefining what recess duty means and entails. 

What COULD happen at recess is nothing short of continued learning. Teachers could take recess opportunities to teach various types of games from different cultures or different time periods throughout history. Recess could take on themes, such as 1950s month where students learn some of the old school games of yesteryear that seem to have disappeared. 

Teachers COULD help specific students learn social skills in a safe play environment. There are plenty of students who do not know, for example, how to join a game in progress. They will stand nearby and hope that someone invites them into the game simply because they lack the social skills. If no one invites them, they won't get to play. Teachers could facilitate the development of these simple social skills. In fact, I helped develop a program where we directly taught these skills to students with learning disabilities.

Teachers COULD help students with conflict resolution. Yes, recess can cause numerous problems with behavior management, but what a great time to deal with it! The students are often in their social groups already and they are not in an academic setting where dealing with the issues would cost precious learning time. When problems arise, the teachers could model how to resolve them in appropriate ways.

Teachers COULD similarly help students learn about sportsmanship. Kids quit games all the time when they don't get their way, when they are losing, when they feel that the teams aren't fair and so on. Teachers could model for them the appropriate behaviors.

As a teacher, I used recess as a major tool to help me get to know my students better. If I couldn't connect with a students intellectually, I could often connect on a sports field. I could learn a lot about students as they played various games, changed the rules, made up stories and so on. I saw who the social leaders were, something that was not always clear in the classroom. I often played with the students so that I could bring i the students who were on the social perimeter. I put them on my team and then worked to give them positive experiences, such as scoring a touchdown for the first time in their lives, assisting on a goal, or making a play in kickball to get the local sports hero out. 

What I am getting to is that recess can and should be treated as another class in the school day. We can think of it as social skills class because that's what it COULD be.

Categories: Multiple Intelligences, Naturalist

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