Traditionally, prep time is a period of one or two hours at the end of the school day when pupils work silently under supervision. It is a time for doing work set by teachers, but also for reading or studying independently.
When I worked at a boarding school, I supervised prep as part of evening boarding house duty. But it was not what it had been in former days. Pupils worked in their rooms and I patrolled around the boarding house. This of course meant that they were unsupervised most of the time, as there were many rooms to patrol. Many pupils had laptops, which were an enormous source of distraction. So the silent, focused time for work and reading no longer really existed.
Even for the very privileged, the privilege of silence had been removed.
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