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There are no fixed rules at KU Leuven regarding taking a break.

When a professor denied her a much-needed study break, journalism student Noelle was forced to think. “Break breaks are often shortened, skipped, or taken too late. However, they are essential to the physical and mental health of both teachers and students.

‘It’s going to be intense today. “We’re going to be covering a lot of new material in the next three hours,” the professor announces before the lecture, and then the lesson begins. I’m quickly drawn into the theory, followed by an interesting discussion that ends with more new theories.

After an hour and a half, my stomach started growling. I think about the apple waiting for me in my bag. Meanwhile, my bladder was also starting to wail and the toilet was calling for me. After less than five minutes, my interest in the lesson material had completely disappeared. I need a short break, but it will be skipped today. It is unfortunate that after the moment of discussion I did not retain almost any new information.

There are no fixed rules at KU Leuven regarding taking a break

In the hectic rhythm of contemporary education, breaks during lessons are often neglected. At KU Leuven there are no fixed rules regarding taking a break that students can rely on. This is recommended for a two-hour lesson, and then it is usual to take a ten-minute break.

In practice, it seems that not all teachers follow this advice. Breaks are often shortened, skipped, or taken too late. However, they are essential for the physical and mental health of both teachers and students.

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One of the crucial reasons why breaks are invaluable is the phenomenon of “mental fatigue.” After all, over time, our mental energy decreases. This leads to decreased concentration and decreased ability to learn. Consistent periods of rest reduce this mental fatigue and promote alertness.

As the Chinese philosopher Lao Zi once said: “Whoever realizes that regular rest is a part of the work has already done a large part of the work.”

According to scientific research Taking regular breaks has more obvious benefits. Psychologists and health scientists show that frequent breaks lead to increased creativity, improved mood, and increased engagement.

These same scholars see the pressure for efficiency in our current society and assert that stress increases dramatically when daily patterns of “getting on” are not interrupted.

According to Factcheck.Vlaanderen 55% of Flemish students suffer from psychological complaints, of which study stress is an important cause. According to the university, it is important to recognize and address stressors in education. Committing to regular rest times is a step in the right direction.

Taking a 17-minute break every 51 minutes ensures optimal focus and ability, Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, explains over the phone. Therefore, a ten-minute break during two hours of lessons is considered a minimum for students.

Ideally, an apple doesn’t have to wait for me long and the toilet doesn’t have to scream so loud, so the lessons have my full attention. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Zi once said: “Whoever realizes that regular rest is part of work has already done a great deal of work.”

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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