The term “study hall” has two meanings, both relating to academics. The first is the concept of a room or area set aside specifically for the purpose of studying or reading. The next is a period of time in which students are expected to study or work on homework. This may also be used as a free period by students who have finished their work. Teachers or other officials may monitor both kinds of study hall.
In the sense of a space to study, a study hall is usually kept quiet so that students can focus. Students who need to work on audiovisual material use headphones, and may also screen their workspaces so that they are not distracting. These areas may also have an assortment of books, computers, and other reference materials for students to use. In many cases, a study hall has comfortable seating combined with desks or tables so that students can read in comfort, or spread work out on a table and sit upright.
Many colleges and universities have study halls set aside for their students, often adjacent to libraries. In some cases, these areas may also have conference spaces set aside so that groups of students can get together to work on a project without being disruptive in the general study space. Staff or monitors may be around to make sure that the space is quiet, or the space may be designed to be self-governing.
In terms of a set period in which to do work, a study hall usually appears in pre-college education. Students are expected to work quietly on projects or read, and a teacher typically stands by to monitor and assist students as needed. Depending on the age of the students and how the school is run, students may sign up for a study hall, or it may be built into the school schedule.
While a teacher stands by to help students during a study hall, this time is also a work period for the teacher. Many teachers are expected to work on paperwork or grade student papers during the period. For some teachers, this can be stressful, as they must support students while also doing work of their own. In some regions, teachers have protested this practice, because they feel that their divided attention is an injustice to the students.