List of Pros and Cons of Block Scheduling

The educational world is abounding with reforms from changes such as block scheduling to vouchers and year round education. It seems like everyone has their own perception on how to ‘fix’ education. The truth of matter is that educators are actually doing a great job. However, with matters such as politicians and Columbine paling against what they deem ‘failing’ schools, it appears that the public education system is not receiving a fair hearing.

Although growing in popularity, block scheduling comes with its own set of pros and cons. The following is a list of the pros and cons of block scheduling.

List of Pros of Block Scheduling

1. Teachers meet less students during the day, and by that allowing them more time to focus on individual students.

2. Because of the longer teaching time, lengthy cooperative leaning tasks can be accomplished in single class periods. In addition, there’s also more time for practical activities like scientific experiments.

3. Students get less information to comprehend with during the course of a school day.

4. Due to the fewer classes, students will have less homework to do on any day of the week.

5. Teachers are able to provide varied instructions during lessons. This makes it easier to deal with students with learning disabilities who require different learning styles.

6. Longer planning periods. With more time, planning becomes relatively easier and more things get done.

List of Cons of Block Scheduling

1. Teachers meet with students a few times a week, meaning a loss of continuity for the students during their off days.

2. If students miss a single day under the modular schedule, they actually miss two or more days.

3. Regardless how well planned, there are certain days where a teacher end ups with 15-20 minutes for students to start their homework. When all the time is summed up at the end of each semester, less information and activities will have been covered. This notable with the modified block schedule.

4. With the 4×4 schedule, all activities performed in a semester have to be completed in just a quarter. For instance, in a mathematics class at high school, if the quarter takes place during the football season when homecoming is on the horizon, the teacher will lose crucial class time because of interruptions.

5. Again with the 4×4 schedule, it can be quite difficult to cover all the necessary materials for Advanced Placement courses in the allotted time. Many schools have for example extended U.S history so that it has become a two part course that lasts for a year to ensure that all materials are taught.

6. There isn’t any evidence that block scheduling does actually work. Two research studies carried out in Texas and Canada have provided inconclusive and negative results about block scheduling.

Last Thoughts to Remember

After all has been said, is block scheduling a good or bad thing? It is believed that when implemented in the right setting, alongside the right set of students and well-prepared teachers, block scheduling can actually be very helpful. Schools need to thoroughly consider their reasons for implementing. They also need to be on the look for items like discipline issues and test scores to see whether the schedule does have any advent effects. It is important to always remember that a good teacher is only that, despite what schedule they teach under. They’ll always adapt.

Each new idea that comes by looks to be the latest ‘savior’ of the public school system. Multi-age grouping, looping, block schedules. Each comes with its own merits and set of problems. It is very important for public school educators to look at the list of pros and cons of any reforms before they are applied to schools.

Contingency plans are necessary. And above all, extra time for additional planning and professional development must be granted to administrators and teachers alike to learn more about implementing new reforms. Certain strategies for the implementation of block schedules can be taught to enable a more effective and easier transition.

Public schools across the U.S. are adopting modular or block scheduling in staggering numbers. Different to the traditionally daily six, seven or eight period schedule, block schedules consist of three or four longer periods of day to day instruction.

Before deciding on whether or not you want to enroll your kids in a block schedule, it is imperative to understand the list of pros as well as the list of cons of block scheduling. In general, block scheduling enables students to study for much longer blocks of time for their subjects each day in contrast to traditional scheduling. Traditional scheduling devotes 50 minutes to a single subject and block scheduling lengthens this time to about 90 minutes. One major difference between block and traditional scheduling is that; block scheduling allows students to study for the same subject for fewer days because of the longer study period it has each school day.

There are many types of block scheduling, but the commonly used, include the 4×4 block and the alternate day schedule. In the 4×4 block, learners get to take four classes each semester, and in the alternate day schedule, learners attend school lessons on certain days for longer periods of time rather than meeting daily. Other popular types of block schedules include the intensive block schedule and the reconfigured block schedule. But different schools do develop their specific block scheduling to suit the different needs of their students.