Winds were blowing at 25kmph. It was a rather cold day on the wet running track. The runner that the spectators have come to see is considering cancelling his plans to run.
Only 3,000 people showed up for this small runners meet at Oxford, England on 6th May 1954. Most people were convinced that there is zero chance that the full-time student who promised to break the world record that has been deemed impossible since 1886 would be successful.
Before Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile, it was considered impossible. Some doctors even warned athletes trying to break the record by speculating that the human heart would beat too fast (and into a cardiac arrest) if anyone tries to run at that speed.
It was impossible till someone did it.
Over the last half-century, more than a thousand runners have conquered a barrier that had once been considered hopelessly out of reach.
Now, how is this related to Pasxcel’s school timetable?
Most parents think it is impossible for students to have only 4 hours of class a day and yet complete a 2 years syllabus in 18 months or less. Many told us that the students will be burned out or unable to do it. The truth is our students not only covered the syllabus in record time and aced it, but they also managed to have tonnes of fun while doing it.
How is that even possible?
I believe there is a lot of similarities between Roger Bannister’s story and what we do at Pasxcel. Mr Bannister received a ridiculous amount of criticism and lash back from the athletic circles. Many sports journalists criticized his training methods as outrageous and out of the norm. His methods however bore results. Just like our well researched, scientifically-backed teaching methodology that has been producing results like clockwork.
At Pasxcel, everything we do is backed by strong scientific data. For example, all our classes do not exceed 1 hour each time. The reason for this is simple. Numerous research has proven that teenagers’ focus window is around 45 to 75 minutes. Instead of labelling our children lazy, unfocused or easily distracted, we choose to play to their natural strengths. Our highly engaging classes end within 1 hour to ensure the most efficient learning.
Next, there is always a 30 minutes break before the next class. There are three reasons for this.
Most of our students like to come early and leave later. Mainly to talk to our teachers. Sometimes it is to clarify on the topic but mostly it is just to talk about their day, the news and just generally catch up. We’ve come to love these informal sessions. It allows us to get to know our students well. Which then helps us in our customized lesson delivery and activity planning.
2. Mental efficiency
Our brains are wired to dump any information that is not necessary for survival almost immediately. So you can’t blame a teenager for not remembering how to solve differentiation questions even though the teacher just taught it an hour ago. Our human brain simply does not deem it necessary to remember such details. However, there is a workaround to it. If your child revises immediately right after receiving the information then the brain deems it necessary to commit to memory due to repetition. Which is what the break right after class is for.
3. Physical fatigue
Sitting in class and engaging in intense discussions is tiring. Many students have confessed that though the classes at Pasxcel is half of what they did in their previous schools, it is way more intense. According to our students, “You don’t get to daydream or turn off your camera in the class. The classes are super interesting. You are just present 100% of the time. And it can be exhausting”. That is another reason why the breaks are for. So that students can walk around the house, drink some water, rest their eyes and go to the loo.
Lastly, we capped off our classes at a maximum of 4 hours a day. The revolutionary study by Prof Calvin Newport in his book Deep Work provides numerous research-backed evidence that our human brain is only capable of doing about 4 hours of concentrated deep work at a stretch. Hence, we ensure that students are not grilled day in and out for 8 to 9 hours each day.
If students do not spend that many hours in class, how do they score such fantastic results?
That is all due to the way teaching is done at Pasxcel.
PS. If you want to know how Pasxcel’s scientifically designed classes can help maximize your child’s learning, book a FREE strategy call with us now!
Written by Pasxcel’s Principal, Teacher Yuven.