OpEd: Should high schools cancel morning self-study? | Tricia Liao – Grade 10

empty classroom no students taiwan Tricia Liao argues morning study time is essential.
  • Cram schools are often located far from students’ regular schools
  • Morning study time helps students’ brain start functioning
  • Schools shouldn’t blindly follow what the government says

A frequently mentioned topic between high school students these days is the cancellation of morning study time. On December 1st, 2016, the Ministry of Education announced that starting from September 2017, students could decide whether they want to join morning self-study for two days each week. Morning self-study is the free session from 7:30-8:00AM for students to study or read. High schools should not cancel morning self-study.

1. We need the time to take quizzes

Due to the way the Taiwanese education system works, test scores determine whether we pass a subject or not. We have three terms a semester, at the end of each term, teachers have to finish their curriculum for each subject. With the limited time but many courses to be taught, we practically don’t have time for quizzes. But if we only calculate the scores we get in the three terms tests, we will easily be flunked. Furthermore, taking quizzes helps us to get prepared for college entrance exams. Without morning study time to take these quizzes, we’ll lose the opportunity of knowing how well we have prepared for the exam.

2. Students won’t have enough time to get to their cram schools after school

Some schools have been planning on moving the study time from morning to after school. For most students in Taiwan, attending cram schools after school is our weekly schedule. Most cram schools start at 6:30-7:00PM, some even earlier. Moreover, the location of cram schools can be far away from our high school. If we end school at 5:30, some students might not be able to arrive on time. Also they won’t have enough time to grab dinner, and will have to eat it around 9:00-10:00. According to a scientific report, constantly having dinner after 8:00PM could cause gastroesophageal reflux. Ruining health at the age of 16 is definitely not what we prefer.

3. It allows students to have enough time to get ready for the first class

After you wake up in the morning, it takes time for your brain to start working. Having morning study time helps our brain start functioning. For instance, if we don’t have any quizzes in the morning, my homeroom teacher will make us jog around the track for at least four laps. This way, our brain starts working earlier and we’ll have enough vigor for the first class. By doing so, the average score of my class on first and second term tests are always better compared to other classes. So consider talking to your homeroom teacher, and make good use of morning study time.

This new announcement has caused chaos at schools. Students are confused by the time they should get to school in order to not be late. Teachers have to add more assignments to increase students’ in-class scores, or to get students prepared for the college entrance exam by making those tests into assignments. Schools should make the best decision that benefits students instead of blindly following what the government says, so schools shouldn’t cancel morning self-study.

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