Long Hours

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



10 thoughts on “Long Hours”

    1. Very interesting article. There’s a line at the end also nice to hear: “Rather, he says, ‘There’s a sense that monolinguals are underusing their linguistic capacity.'”

      1. Good for that. When we stop knowing how to play with our kids, even if we totally get CI, what good is it? But the play must be tempered. Going too far in the play leads to overfamiliarity. We must be the adult and still be able to laugh with them. A fine line indeed.

  1. One change in my thinking (and there have been many changes) that has occurred as I have thought about rigor is the approach to assigned seating. I have a pretty laissez faire approach to most things, and I used to think that giving students some freedom in seating helped mitigate the school experience. So, I would assign seats at the beginning of the year to help me learn students’ names and then let them gradually move to where they wished to sit.

    Of course, when students sit where they wish, they gravitate to their friends and begin to talk. At some point this would become too much, so I would send them back to their assigned seats. But it was punishment, and I really didn’t like that.

    Since I have been doing serious thinking about rigor, the motivation has changed. I still assign seats, and I still allow the gradual migration, and I still have to ask students to return to their assigned seats. Now, however, I have jGR to help reinforce the need to be involved. But beyond that, I explain to my students that the seating assignment is not punishment but a help. They are obviously not able to meet the rigor of the class – which includes active participation for the entire period – so I am providing them with a crutch to help them. My attitude has changed, the nature of the action has changed, and the students’ reaction has changed. Sure, they are disappointed that they aren’t sitting with their friends, but they understand that what I am doing is to help them and not punishment.

    BTW and OT, whenever colleagues question the “rigor” of your class and try to say that TPRS/CI is “too easy”, discuss with them the concept of academic rigor. I really like what the Department of State has to say about rigor:
    An academic program is rigorous when there is:
    depth and integrity of inquiry
    sustained focus
    suspension of premature conclusions
    continuous testing of hypotheses

    In a classroom setting, teachers can assist students in sustaining focus in a number of different ways:
    Vary the pacing, grouping and the activities of an instructional period.
    Develop a personal code system with your students for monitoring in-class or social behaviors.
    Ask mediative questions at increasingly high levels to pique student interest.

    For fuller descriptions, go to the following website:

    In addition, the Department of State agrees with Alfie Kohn:
    Teachers must also ensure that the program is intellectually rigorous, or academically challenging for each student at his or her individual level. Academic rigor does not imply harshness or severity. In a recent interview, Alfie Kohn (in O’Neill & Tell, 1999) states, “A lot of horrible practices are justified in the name of ‘rigor’ or ‘challenge.’ People talk about ‘rigorous’ but often what they mean is ‘onerous,’ with schools turned into fact factories. This doesn’t help kids become critical, creative thinkers or lifelong learners (p. 20).”

    If colleagues think sustained focus in the classroom isn’t rigorous, have them observe adult behavior at the next faculty meeting, seminar, professional development training or workshop. Adults cannot sustain focus for an hour; you will see side conversations, “homework” (grading papers, planning lessons), texting, doodling, and various other forms of disengagement – in other words all of the behaviors that they get upset with students about. Yet we expect students to sustain focus hour after hour with only short breaks between classes, in which they are expected to go to lockers, use the bathroom, get a drink of water and get to the other side of the campus without having time for social interaction. At my school we don’t even have a nutrition break, so some students do this from 7:00 am to 12:22 pm. And we wonder why there are behavioral issues and students don’t like school? Oh, and many of the adults won’t even arrive to the meeting on time but will suffer no consequences; but they will be the first to write up a detention for being tardy to their class. O mores! O tempores! Can we say “hypocrisy”?

    1. Robert, thank you SO much for this!!! we often talk in our dept meetings about what does/should rigor look like in our classrooms — this answers it beautifully!!! (just sent it to colleagues)

    1. Thanks for that comment, Judy. I had forgotten to mention the physical environment. School desks and chairs are not comfortable: some are too small for students, the hard plastic/nylon/pvc is uncomfortable, the ergonomic design is poor, and girls with long hair get it caught in the rivets on the back of the chair – to name just a few of the problems. In some classes the legroom matches that of coach class on an airplane. And this is where students spend up to six hours of their day.

      Note to self: Remember brain and body breaks.

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I set a goal this year of getting kids up out of chairs at least once, hopefully twice, during my 85-minute block class period, but I still forget. I’m up, moving (pedometer says I put in 10,000 steps during an ordinary school day) and forget the kids have been sitting all that time.

    But I did have a parent comment that her son was so glad to have Spanish 7th period, as it’s a lively class that keeps him awake and engaged.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben