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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Balancing act: Measuring the pros and cons of study hall

Students+typically+on+an+opposite+day+to+their+wellness+class+sit+in+the+cafeteria+in+an+in-class+study+hall
Aditya Narayan
Students typically on an opposite day to their wellness class sit in the cafeteria in an in-class study hall

Encompassing nearly 800 students, study hall is the most populated class taken by students. 

Often a filler class for periods that alternate between ‘Day one’ and ‘Day two’, the study hall is one of the best ways students can catch up on work that needs to be completed, or to simply finish schoolwork that would otherwise be impossible to finish outside of class. 

However, many have begun to question the benefits study halls have on students, namely the extent to which students actually use the time for work. 

Upon closer inspection, it is clear that a large portion of students do not use the time given wisely, instead choosing to spend that time on phones or talking to friends. This generates a lot of noise, making it impossible for others to study and do homework without having to go to another part of the building.  

In fact, Junior Amelia Noguera expressed irritation with the frequent disruptions in her learning environment.  “I have to say that sometimes it is difficult because of all the noise going on making it hard to concentrate … Sometimes big groups of people get together and it gets a little bit annoying,” She commented.

If students are not using their time wisely, then it is not only a detriment to them, but a detriment to the school. When students are wasting time in a period, they are not only learning anything, but are preventing others from being able to concentrate on their own work.

Noguera states that this lack of focus is one of the reasons why study hall proves ineffective. “People waste their time… in the afternoon they have the opportunity to do other things without having to think about homework or studying… If they used the time that they were given then it would affect them and the people around them in a more positive way,” she noted. 

The extent to which students waste their time in study hall makes it easy to argue about getting rid of the class entirely. However, there are some major benefits of having a study hall between classes. 

For one, having an in-class study hall gives students the ability to take an extra break from school. High school students spend a ton of time studying and doing extracurriculars , which leads to a noticeable drop in their sleep schedule. Offering up a study hall for students can be beneficial to helping students alleviate their stress during their time at school. 

In fact, Study Hall Monitor Jim Wessel reflects how the purpose of study hall goes beyond studying. “It is designed to give students options; it’s a combination of kids getting a mental break away from class. It is a time for kids to do homework, it is a time to get a makeup [test] done, go to the library, and also hang out with friends. It is a causal study hall,” he noted. 

For many, the openness of study halls and the relative buzz makes studying difficult. However, Wessel, offering up a practical solution, believes there are ways to navigate this challenge. “I would go to the mic and I would tell everybody to quiet down, or I would go to that specific table and I would mention it to them; those who have that issue would need to come talk to me so I can know that it is an issue with them and they always have an option to go to the library, as it is much quieter over there,” he emphasized. 

The debate surrounding the academic study hall in our school underscores the need for a balanced approach. While many students struggle to use the benefits of study hall to its full potential, it is important to recognize the unique benefits that study hall has to offer. 

Study halls provide a crucial break for students amidst demanding schedules, offering them a chance to recharge and manage their academic responsibilities. Moreover, these insights from individuals like Amelia Noguera and Jim Wessel shed light on the unique perspectives surrounding this educational tool. 

By fostering a positive learning environment and encouraging proactive communication, our school can improve the efficiency of our study halls so that they are a valuable resource to all students who need it. Ultimately with thoughtful consideration and strategic adjustment, our study halls can play a significant and beneficial role in the education of our school. 

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About the Contributor
Aditya Narayan, Copy Editor
Aditya Satya Narayan is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as a copy editor for the Spartan Shield. After high school, Aditya plans to major in Aerospace Engineering at an undecided university. Besides Honors Journalism, Aditya's favorite classes are AP Physics 2 and Statistics. During his time in high school, Aditya has been one of the most committed members of the Pleasant Valley Spartan Marching Band, which led him to be selected as a co-section leader for the Clarinet section. In concert Band, Aditya was selected to be in the Iowa All-State band for clarinet in his junior year. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, hanging out with friends, and excessively typing away on 10fastfingers.com to get to his goal of 100 WPM. 

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