Study halls provide individualized time for each student to work on what is most important (or urgent) to them. In high school kids get very little choice or self-directed time and study hall is a great way to provide that opportunity to them.
I use these very simple rules for my study hall:
- We have a quiet study hall. There is something very powerful about a room full of people all busily working on things simultaneously and silently. It absolutely helps kids focus. There is something tribal and contagious about it.
- You must have something to work on. This needs to be homework, studying, reading, drawing, projects. All of these things are acceptable.
- No sleeping and no gaming. I realize you are all exhausted and also could use some play time as well, but this isn’t the time for it.
- All regular school rules apply.
In my study halls students tend to work on homework, read books, do research, write papers, and draw. All of these are worthwhile activities and are more valuable because the students are choosing to do them.
Many people may think of study halls as wasted time. If you have a productive study hall, it can be a good place for kids to work together on things that are important to them! It is a great opportunity for the kids to be self-directed and have control over what they want to spend their time on.