Why 90 minutes?

  • 21 replies
Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 01:44:47 AM »
For our "consulting" lessons, we have always had them for 2 hours with a 15 minute break in between.  We've had a few who have wanted 90 minute classes and pay accordingly. Sorry, homey don't play that game.
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Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 01:54:49 AM »
My Uni classes are 80 minutes or twice 40 minutes, my Shinyway classes are 120 minutes, both I find too short.
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Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 02:07:16 AM »
Well if we're getting them out and comparing, I used to do 60-minute classes with Web. In the evening it'd be three of them back to back, and in fact they used to fly by. With a proper schedule of things to do and a reasonable rationale for directing things that way, maybe any number of minutes is workable. If there's some proper progression of tasks with a decent rationale from the first minute to the last...

Maybe optimum class length, or at least the class length you wish you had, is about the teacher at least as much as it's about the student. Personalities vary, approaches vary, what aspects you focus on and how you approach them - every teacher has their style.

My preferred practice assumes students do work on their own. They read texts, or consider a list of questions. Then they and I get together to compare. In an ideal world.

My preferred practice also assumes that students have other interests. I can't keep them sitting still, comparing with me, all day. They have other things to do. For one, they could be reading texts. Or out considering lists of questions.

I don't know.

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Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2014, 04:52:13 AM »
Well, like I mentioned before, I teach high school. I also teach subjects, history and literature.

I definitely prefer 40 minute periods. I can handle 80-90 minute double periods with a break in between, because then I just do 40 minutes lecture 40 minutes practice, like you mentioned CP, and for certain groups that might even be optimal, but for my current students 40 minutes is pretty much the limit.

BUT -- how many times a week do you see your students? That makes a difference too. If you see them only once a week, 90 minutes or even longer makes a lot more sense than 90 minutes every single day. When I was in high school we had every class every day, and my typical high school classes that I teach now also are held daily. Occasionally there are times, mostly when I'm teaching history, when I wish I had time for a lecture and an activity in the same lesson, but doing a lecture today and an activity tomorrow isn't really a whole lot different and is less taxing for the students anyhow.

Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2014, 02:36:21 PM »
The norm around here is seeing the students once a week for 90 minutes. This semester I also have one class group I'll see twice a week (two sets of 90 minutes). In the past there have been oddball timetables where I'll see classes twice on even weeks and once on odd weeks. The number of students at each session varies too. Sometimes I'll see huge individual classes - 50-plus students in one class. Sometimes I'll see two smaller classes together. This semester  I have 12 contact "hours" each week meeting a total of about 240 students.


Which *is* hair-raising if you think about it too abstractly, but it is also a norm and doesn't seem to hurt too much, so....

I'm having trouble remembering what my original complaint was. Maybe just that when you have large classes, it's tough to engage for 90 minutes. A reasonable ejumakator might either shorten the lesson time or smallen the class size. I don't know what makes real pedagogical sense though. Maybe I'd like to see small classes, meeting regularly, for short periods. The teacher could relatively specialise, in fact would have to because they'd need more material to work with, but there's also.... and here I draw a blank. I don't know why one style of class is better or worse than another.

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Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2014, 01:29:21 AM »
I definitely think classes of an hour or less, meeting at regular times, is more productive than once a week long classes. With my classes that meet between 3-5 times a week, we can really do a large variety of different things. Typically I'll start off a week with a lecture day. Then we'll do an activity day, then a discussion day, sometimes with activity and discussion day switched. I even give weekly assessments because I have that extra time.

Particularly for this age group, and particularly, particularly, with foreign languages (and anything that is still at the "building basics" level -- math, writing, reading etc), I feel like frequent contact is essential. You can forget an awful lot in a week.

Once you get into more specialized subjects I think frequent contact isn't as important and having one or two in-depth lessons a week has benefits. But I think there is definitely a pedagogical reason most elementary and secondary education takes places in 40-50 minute daily chunks.



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Re: Why 90 minutes?
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2014, 08:23:29 PM »
Maybe just me, but my high school classes in Australia were usually 90, my current university classes in Australia are 110. I guess if people can't work/teach/focus for that length of time, what can they do?
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