Ideally, teachers would coordinate homework assignments to make sure students aren't going home each evening with another three hour's worth of work ahead of them. "We're really looking at schools to change the notion of 'time' and how you use your time," she says.
Indeed, Medina says. If he's enthusiastic about changing the way adults look at time, he's positively zealous about changing it for our children, saying the way most elementary and secondary schools are structured is "a train wreck" for the brain.
"If you're in high school, and you have five 50-minute periods of information in unbroken, declarative firehose streams, where a teacher literally sprays the knowledge and splatters it all over your brain and you're expected to absorb it, well, we know that's not how the brain learns."
The brain, he says, needs time to absorb information, review it and store it. And that kind of time can't be tightly scheduled, especially for the developing brains of children. It's especially true for children that "the more unstructured you make them, the more 'thinking' they become," he says
That doesn't mean, though, parking them in front of TV screens or video games. Those are just different forms of "structured" time -- the TV show runs a certain length, the video games are timed. They can just add to time pressure.
"The more ventilation you give the kids to be themselves, with a playtime that is unstructured and really imaginative, the more likely they are to mobilize their God-given IQs and perform in a way that I think parents actually want them to perform," Medina says.
Lessons for all of us: Lessons for all of us: Sometimes faster is really slower, and doing less can help you accomplish more. And sometimes, the most productive way to schedule our time is to leave a big, blank space in our itinerary … and let our brain fill it in.