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A school period is a block of time allocated for lessons, classes or other activities in schools. They typically last between 40 and 60 minutes, with around 3-8 periods per school day. However, especially in higher education, there can be many more. Educators determine the number and length of these periods, and may even regulate how each period will be used. One common example of this practice is to designate at least one compulsory period a day for physical education.
One special example of a high school period is the free period. A free period (often abbreviated to "free" and also known as a "spare" or "unstructured") is generally found in most high schools and colleges. The free period first started as recess, where in middle school it basically changed into a homeroom period. When middle school students go to high school, then comes the free period. During a free period, a student can either:
Some schools have an extended lunch period and that could be used as a free period as well. Lunch periods in high school could be up to 60 minutes long.
A free period in a college is a time period that a student is not enrolled in a class. During the free period, students are literally free and could do whatever they want that complies to the campus rules and the law. Students in free periods in college are expected to study and complete assignments, but some make it a time for socialization, eating, sleeping, running errands, and many other activities. Office hours are open for students to get help with their classes, along with other services of the college.
Another special example of a middle school and high school period is the study period. In school or college, a study period is a period in a student's timetable where a student may undertake self-directed learning activities, rather than having lessons being taught by a teacher.
While study periods are normally intended for study activities, such as set exercises, problem solving, or homework, students often consider these periods of the school day as free periods and may use the time to socialize rather than study. For this reason, study periods may often be supervised by a teacher being present in the study room. In some instances, the teacher may even tutor the students, and the study period may become a tutorial, although this is not normally the case. Study periods often occur because of scheduling conflicts in the school timetable, when there is a mismatch between available students, teachers, subjects and classrooms.
Study periods are generally monitored by teachers or teacher's aides, who often encourage students to use this time to complete homework, catch up on missing assignments, or study for tests or quizzes. Sometimes, students also use periods to converse, make phone calls, text message, play video games, or otherwise socialize or pursue non-academic topics, though this is sometimes discouraged or forbidden. Periods in which such things are allowed are occasionally differentiated from study periods by the name "free period". Some students even eat lunch during a study period due to long lines and short lunch periods at their schools.
Study periods are often used by students to visit with teachers, who have a "prep period", in order to discuss work or assignments. A study period can be a period to utilize school resources or otherwise request teacher assistance in any subject not understood by the student.
Many academics feel that study period is an inefficient allocation of time which is often underutilized, but others say it is a positive addition to a regular schedule because it creates a good environment for completing homework or large projects.