With the joys and strains of Christmas still fresh in our minds, it’s important to consider what it might be doing to our minds. Christmas is widely celebrated throughout the UK in many schools and the celebrations can last for weeks. With this in mind, we should be aware of the strain it can have on effective learning and whether or not the vast amount of celebrations are necessary.
The Physical Effects
Christmas is a hectic time for everyone, everywhere and it is essential that we are still concentrating on curricular activities in schools rather than straying from the educational syllabus. This can have physical effects on student learning. The levels of excitement and stress that are associated with the build up to Christmas can lead to students feeling distracted and hyper meaning they are less likely to concentrate in the classroom. The hyperactivity can lead to a lack of motivation and fatigue when students eventually crash. It can be challenging enough to get a class to listen and learn properly, but when they are all excited about the same upcoming events it can be a nightmare to handle. The Christmas holidays allows many UK schools to have a 2 week break, but many students seem be in holiday mode way before the last day of term.
Avoiding Academic Work
Another point to consider when exploring the effects that Christmas can have is the distraction that the celebrations have on the set academic activities. It can be argued that a lot of vital learning time goes to waste on practising the ‘perfect’ end of year show. Drama lessons are an essential attribute within the school timetable as it has many benefits such as building confidence and creativity. However, many lessons are voided during the preparation of theses shows meaning children may be missing out on crucial learning time. Furthermore, the stress of performing in front of a wide audience can be daunting and it can lead to further interference during lesson times due to a lack of concentration.
A point highlighted by Teaching Tolerance was that Christmas time can have ‘unintentional negative consequences’ and the children who don’t celebrate the Christmas holidays may be left feeling isolated and othered. Bearing this in mind, you could take an alternate route and take the celebration down a non-traditional route to try and include everybody. One way of doing this would be to include different cultural or social beliefs instead of focusing solely on the Christian holiday. This previous article written by TeacherBoards Community gives alternative ideas on celebrating the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. Click here to read more.
That Christmas Feeling
On the other hand, celebrating Christmas in schools can be a joyous and uplifting occasion. It can offer an entertaining distraction from the stress brought on by the school year. You could argue that Christmas time is something nice for children and teachers to be excited about. This can be beneficial to schools in the sense that it can raise morale. Although the Christmas period can be a cause for distraction in lessons, you could opt for winter themed lesson plans and activities so students are more likely to follow instruction. There are lots of different routes you could go down with this and it can get your classrooms feeling creative.
This lack of persistence in relation to work related tasks can also help students feel at ease, for a short time at least. This can effect your mentality in a positive way as there is less of a strain during lessons as many people are concentrating on the upcoming holidays – something that is meant to be positive and enjoyable.
Christmas is a traditional part of winter in the United Kingdom and for schools to diverge from this tradition may be seen as Grinch-like amongst the most part of our population. Instead of banning Christmas from the schools who celebrate the holiday, it may be more beneficial for them to celebrate it in an academically organised manner as not to divert from the school curriculum. Read our winter themed creative writing article for lessons plans that correlate with celebrating this event.
Have Your Say
Let us know what you think about the issues of Christmas time effecting children’s behaviour by tweeting us on www.twitter.co.uk/teacherboards.
P.S. only 348 more sleeps until next Christmas!