The Sands of Time: The allocation and use of instructional time in English and Mathematics in private and public schools in England and Dubai

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
This research identifies classroom activities that are related to high levels of instructional time. In the summer term of 2007, ten teachers and their year four classes were observed and their activities were coded. Results showed that teachers and their use of time differed significantly and that this had a greater effect on pupils’ access to learning opportunities than allocated time. Large variations in instructional time appeared to be the result of many variables, in particular, classroom management factors. Existing research concerning instructional time reports a significantly small proportion of allocated time as being dedicated to instruction. “Researchers have found that only 45 to 50 percent of the total school day is spent in instruction.” Delzell (1987 p. 44) The aims of the research were to calculate the amount of instructional time allocated in three types of school; English independent, English state and Dubai private, to quantify the amount of enacted instructional time in classrooms and to examine teaching strategies that maximised instructional time. Data were collected using an observational instrument involving a time sampling technique developed to measure the teacher’s use of time. This study builds on the controversy concerning the relative importance of the quality or the quantity of instructional time and pupil achievement. It concludes that quantity and quality are both necessary but that the debate is sidelined when factors ultimately dependent on the managerial abilities of the classroom teacher are considered.
private schools, public schools, England, Dubai, classroom activities, instructional time, learning opportunities, classroom management, teaching strategies, pupil achievement