Finally, A School That Understands Teenagers!


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You're lost in the world of dreams and sleep. You roll over, smiling as you encounter a swimming pool filled with chocolate. And then 'poof' - Your wonderful dream becomes a nightmare where someone is screaming "GET UP!!" - No this isn't some boot camp, but just what every teenager goes through each morning!

Now, there seems to be one school that finally understands that requiring teens to show up at the ungodly hour of 9.00am is not just cruel but also detrimental, to both the kids and the school.

The Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside, Britain recently decided to experiment to see if there is any difference in student behavior if they just pushed back the start of their day by one hour, from 9.00am to 10.00am - And the results as we teens could have told you, are . . . . . . astounding.

Since implementing the later start, Monkseaton has seen a 28% drop in truancy, hardly any tardiness, and best of all, higher test scores. One of the reasons of course, is that the teenagers are much happier to have the extra hour of sleep, but there is also a scientific reason behind why they need the extra sleep.

The school's decision to push back the time was based on research conducted by Oxford professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist, who concluded that teenagers have different sleep cycles than adults. Why? Because in young adults, the hormone melatonin that induces sleep, is secreted later than it is in adults, explaining why teenagers go to bed late and wake up late.

While adults are alert and ready at 8 AM, adolescents are not fully awake until 10 AM, sometimes even noon. Memory tests prove that the more difficult classes should be in the afternoon when teenagers are most alert.

Teachers may argue that their students perform better in the morning, but in reality it is because they in "the zone" while their students are still mildly sedated, making the students easier to control. By lunch, teachers are exhausted and kids are ready to go, giving the impression that students lose concentration over the day.

According to the scientist, teenagers remain 2 time zones behind their adult counterparts from ages, 13-21. After that, this time shift slowly reverses, so by the time a person approaches 50, they are waking up at the same time they did when they were 6.

The Monkseaton school officials are definitely encouraged by the results and plan on voting in June to make it a permanent change - Now if only the rest of the high schools in the world would listen and follow their example, and allow all teens could get some extra zzzz's. Personally, as a tired sixteen year-old, a late start would help me and my chemistry grade tremendously . . . . . .Is anybody listening?


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