Sleep experts have praised the tutor's creative method.
Sleeping in class is allowed? How is that possible? One high school tutor has turned a no-no into a creative lesson! Isaac Harms is a social studies and psychology teacher at Murray County Central High School in Minnesota. The 20-year educator is actually letting pupils snooze in his class as part of a unique sleep study lesson. Harms shared a photo of his class sleeping on Instagram, where it pretty much went viral. For those wondering, the creative method lets students learn about the four stages of sleep by engaging in actual sleep. Even sleep experts have been praising the teacher's ingenuity.
"Anytime we can experience information, I feel like it's more memorable and it sticks," Harms told Good Morning America. "When we go into the sleep [unit], we took notes, learned the stages and benefits of sleep ... slowly moving into this altered state of consciousness. They all get excited and say, 'Seriously? We can sleep?'" Harms added. "It's funny because my wife is a kindergarten teacher and kids hate nap time. High schoolers love it." So how exactly do young teens learn? First, they find a good spot to doze off in. Harms then reads them a 20-minute story. Once it is over, the class discusses what takes place in the body when someone falls asleep. "After some quick breathing instructions for relaxation, I tell a scripted story with a detailed outline," Harms explained on Instagram. "Once the story is complete, students begin to wake up from their altered state of consciousness and we walk through what they remember from the story while matching it to the stages of sleep." Students learn what stage of sleep their body entered during the experiment based on what they can remember from the story their teacher had read aloud.
Students in the classroom experienced varying results. Some didn't sleep at all while others entered various stages of sleep. Then they document what they went through in a chronological manner. Said senior Victoria Pierson, 17, who reported entering stage 1 of sleep during the session, "We all thought it was really cool because high schoolers tend to be overtired, so, we got a bit of a nap time. I honestly think he's the best teacher we have. He's very good about getting the message across rather than memorize or learn it for a test."
Sleep experts also chimed in with Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a sleep specialist at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, calling Harms's lessons "an effective method of teaching sleep studies." "You can never pull this off in a second-grade class, second-grade kids would never fall asleep," Pelayo said of the tutor's lesson. "High school kids are sleep deprived. You can only sleep if you're sleepy. That's why what this teacher is doing works, because they're not getting enough sleep. This teacher has to be commended," Pelayo added. "Even when sleepy, you can only fall asleep unless you're comfortable and in a safe place. He's known for it and the kids look forward to it. They trust him."