Opinion: Taiwanese students need MORE hours at school, not fewer | Tricia Liao – Grade 12

prisoners jailbirds A group of happy students at school who are required to spend their entire lives there.

Going to school is a process that everyone will experience in their life. In each country, the starting time and ending time of school is different, so students around the world stay at school for different amounts of hours. Some countries have longer school days, some have shorter ones. Due to this difference, students from different countries comprehend differently, and there are some reasons why long school hours help students perform better.

1. More hours equals more learning

Staying at school longer gives students the opportunity to learn more. Christopher Gabrieli, the author of Time to Learn: Benefits of a Longer School Day, tells us in his book that since students need time to learn, the longer students stay at school, the more students can learn. With longer school hours, schools are able to add more classes for major subjects or extend the time of each class period. This way, teachers get to teach more material, such as one chapter per class, and all students would be able to absorb all the new knowledge because we are all passionate about learning.

Even if some students like to sleep during class time, we know that they are using the well-known method of sleep-learning. All Taiwanese students should be glad because we stay at school for longer hours than almost any other country. We usually spend 9.6 hours at school a day, and as a matter of fact, we are much smarter than other students from countries whose school hours are shorter.

2. Taiwanese students are smarter than Western students because we spend more time at school

In countries like the U.S. and Germany, students usually stay at school for six hours a day on average. If you have ever encountered students from those “short school day” countries, you know that Taiwanese students are much smarter than them just by comparing the SAT scores. As data shows, the average SAT score of Asians is 1223 which, compared to whites’ average of 1101 and the others, our SAT score is the highest among all ethnicities.

Also, according to Top Universities’ ranking on universities all over the world, we can see that Taiwan’s best university, National Taiwan University (NTU), ranked at seventy-two, which is much higher than any universities in Brazil, where students only spend four hours at school per day. This proves that Taiwanese students are relevantly smarter, and although lots of U.S. universities ranked higher than NTU, we know the courses taught there are much easier, so it is meaningless to care about the rankings.

3. The naysayers are wrong

Unfortunately, there are people complaining that Taiwanese students are not getting enough sleep, and how this can affect our growth and academic performance.

The National Sleep Foundation once published an article saying that teenagers need up to eight to ten hours of sleep to function best. Taiwanese students only sleep for 6.8 hours on average, and this is probably enough. First of all, the argument is that Taiwanese students need more sleep in order to have enough energy to pay attention in class so we could get better grades. A high school in Minnesota pushed back the time students need to arrive at school from 7:25 to 8:30 to let their students get more sleep, and it turns out that those students’ SAT scores increased 300 points on average.

Well, the truth is that Taiwanese students do not need the 300 points because we already score high enough on our SATs. Take my classmates at school as an example; most of us scored over 1300 on SAT. If another 300 points were added to our score, it would be over 1600 and it’s essentially impossible that College Board would give us that grade. It seems like it would benefit students more to stay at school for longer periods to learn more knowledge instead of just SAT preparation.

The argument also stated that not enough sleep will result in health problems for students. For example, our immune systems will become weaker if we don’t get enough sleep. We are young and strong teenagers; cancer and diseases won’t bother us now because those are problems you face when you get old. If most elderly people will get sick and die, what is the point of keeping your body healthy when you are young? Isn’t it a lot more meaningful to use every bit of energy to learn more?

4. Some modest proposals

I would like to suggest that instead of going to school for nine hours a day, the Taiwanese government should force students to live at school, which will increase the time we stay at school from nine hours to twenty-four hours. This way, we can be educated every second, and not waste any opportunity for learning in our lives.

  1. Every day starting from sunrise, schools should play classical music to wake students up, then we can learn about the beauty and history of music.
  2. During any eating periods, there should be word games on food wrappers, so students get to review vocabulary while eating.
  3. Schools should also institute punishments like if one student didn’t get at least ten questions right on their food wrappers, the student will then be banned from eating. Doing this encourages students and gives us the motivation to learn.
  4. Last but not least, during showering and sleeping periods, schools should play educational speeches on a variety of topics, so students get to learn different things every second of every day.

If students want to become successful one day, the only way is to stay at school as long as possible, because this is clearly the only way you get to absorb the most knowledge and become smart.

About Taipei Teen Tribune (104 Articles)
Taipei Teen Tribune is a free-to-read online news and interest blog written by some especially talented teenagers from Taiwan. We like to talk about life as students, important issues that affect people in Taiwan including politics, daily life, and even more fun issues like restaurant and movie reviews. Our site is great for teens and adults alike, anyone wanting to practice English, and for locals interested in fresh perspectives. Like our page on Facebook, sign up for our newsletter or visit our blog for our latest write-ups on what's happening in Taiwan.

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