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ESL forum > Ask for help > Optimum Class Length    

Optimum Class Length


Optimum Class Length
Hello dear colleagues,
Hope everybody is doing well.
I need some articles (and your own professional ideas) on how long a language class should be for different ages, especially for kids.
Thanks in advance.

9 Jul 2017      

United Kingdom

A quick google throws up many articles. Many of them go for 90 minutes or so and they harp on about it being the quality and the variety of activities that matter, not the length of the lesson. I strongly disagree. From personal experience, with 11 to 16 year olds, I think that anything over one hour is too long. Attention wanders, boredom sets in... Trouble starts! With lessons of 50 - 60 minutes, you can have a great structure to the lesson, with an introduction, 2 or 3 main activities for consolidation, with interaction built in and then a plenary at the end. Lessons, like terms and dinosaurs, should have a shape. Thin at one end - teacher introducing topic, thick in the middle - lots of activities going on, then thin again at the end, teacher drawing conclusions and winding up. I worked at a school where the lessons were 100 minutes long and they had lots of training on how to lead a 100 minute lesson. There was something called TEEP involving 6 stages, which you had to employ (can īt remember what it stood for, sorry). The last 30 minutes were always a drag. The reason for the long lessons? To cut down on the problems caused by lesson change-overs - students squabbling and going missing etc... says it all, really. I don īt know of any intellectual justification for long lessons, it īs all about convenience.
I think it īs different for adults, where you can have a nice break and chat halfway through and then resume. It might be different for the very young, where you can alternate a teaching point with colouring activities and games, but I īve no experience of teaching the very young. 

10 Jul 2017     


I agree with cunliffe completely.
Our lessons are 45 minutes long and I think this is perfect. My students are 10-15 years old. For younger students, 30 minutes might be enough. 
Sometimes, though, for a lengthy task like cooking (English breakfast, for example), making posters etc. two lessons together are better. With a five minute break. Then you don īt have to stop in the middle of work. I īm glad we can arrange that sometimes. 

10 Jul 2017     


I think Lynne is absolutely right!
Here in Portugal we īve had the experience of 90 minutes lessons for students aged 10-16/17 and it just doesn īt work. Children and teenagers can īt focus on a lesson, no matter how interesting it may be,  for 90 minutes. And the end results can be quite tragic. The last 20/30 minutes of the lesson are are totally chaotic. Students are not paying attention anymore and teachers are praying for the lesson to end.
Fortunately, someone was wise enough to make lessons go back to their 50 minutes lenght and this works fine.
It is a lot easier to engage your students in your lesson and keep them motivated for 50 minutes. 
Lessons for adults are usually two 50 minutes lessons, with a ten-minute break, which works quite well. 

10 Jul 2017     


Thanks everybody. Great help. I am going to arrange my classes for 45 minutes , then.

11 Jul 2017     


Thanks everybody. Great help. I am going to arrange my classes for 45 minutes , then.

15 Jul 2017