2.5 -3.5 hrs of learning a day is enough.

NSW has recently released guidelines explaining how many hours a day parents should be expecting their child to engage in learning from home.

We can all now breathe a sigh of relief – ahhhhh. Finally, it is clear, black and white, right in front of us. And to be honest, it is also quite realistic and fair for everyone involved. 

I think every teacher, whether in NSW or not, can take relief in knowing these guidelines exist and should consider, if possible, adopting these too.

Quite simply, it looks like this:

Years K – 2
2.5hrs/day: 45-60 minutes English, 30-45mins Mathematics and 30-60 minutes of other KLA’s.

Years 3-6
3hrs/day: 45-60 minutes English, 30-45mins Mathematics and 60-90 minutes of other KLA’s.

Years 7-10
3.5hrs/day: 30-45 minutes English, 30-45mins Mathematics and 90-120 minutes of other KLA’s.

Years 11 -12
Students will mostly follow their usual pattern of study

So now we know this, I think we have to be very careful in how we create what that 2.5 – 3.5/hrs a day of learning looks like. It is time we knuckle down and focus on what really matters, essential learning, our MUST teach. When I look at these guidelines, it is clear English and Mathematics, especially in a primary school, come out on top.

What we have to be careful of though, is that we don’t get fooled into thinking quantity is going to help keep students engaged, ensure they don’t fall behind and that providing more is the answer to keeping students motivated to learn – it isn’t. 

Our students need quality, not quantity. 

No doubt from this there will be some concerns from parents that this seemingly small amount of time isn’t enough. It is. We just need to reassure them of this and explain why.

1.    Quality over Quantity 
Whilst 2.5-3.5 hrs might not seem a lot, we need to ensure parents that this time will be focused on essential learning and what really matters at the moment (mostly English and Mathematics). We also need to remind them that the face-to-face time teachers utilise will be connected to this. It is not about doing heaps or more, but actually less, ensuring learning is focused, targeted and achievable.

2.    Schools aren’t just made up of academic learning
In a normal school day, students don’t just sit in lessons all day, they also play, connect with others, work in groups, have PE lessons outside, art lessons in the art room, go to the library, assemblies and buddy groups. Right now, this isn’t possible, which means there is a little more time at home which can be used for these things and more. Encouraging parents to follow their child’s interests and asking what they want to learn about or do more of might be a good place to start. 

3.    It is already stressful enough!
At the moment things are already quite stressful for our students and the last thing we want to do is add to this by providing them with more work and more to do. This is why learning time is limited to a few hours a day, focusing on essential learning and carefully put together by teachers who know what their students need and who want them to succeed. Extra time can then be used for things which still benefit and add to academic learning but won’t create the stress that learning sometimes does. 

Now is the time to play more games, get a bit creative, spend time outdoors and learn something new – like how to do the dishes or the latest TikTok dance!

Further info on the NSW Education department’s online learning guidelines can be found here:https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/learning-from-home/teaching-at-home/models-of-teaching/daily-model#landing