Using Recess to Increase Focus and Interest in Middle School Students


Author/Creator ORCID





Masters of Education

Citation of Original Publication


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The purpose of this study was to determine whether adding a recess component to class periods would improve students’ focus and interest in daily health lessons. Students’ feelings about the recess activities also were assessed to provide information to help teachers select practical recess activities that students find enjoyable and which provide opportunities to socialize and move at school. Students completed a Daily Self-Assessment (DSA) measurement tool each day. On the DSA, they rated their focus, interest, and moods and reported the type of recess activity they took part in and rated how much they enjoyed each. No statistically significant difference in students’ ratings of focus or interest was observed between recess and non-recess days based on results from the DSA; therefore, both null hypotheses were retained. Although the current study did not find significant differences in focus and interest on days with and without recess, future studies with greater controls appear warranted to identify what kinds of recess are beneficial and ensure that students receive sufficient activity at school to enable them to learn and benefit from instruction.