The Negative Effects of an Alternating Block Schedule
Schools often debate the best scheduling system for high schools: such as either the traditional schedule or the alternating, or A/B, block schedule.
A traditional schedule calls for typically six, seven, or eight classes of approximately fifty minutes each every day for the entire year. An alternating block schedule consists of taking “eight 90-minute classes that meet every other day” (“Block Schedule”). Studies have shown that a traditional schedule creates “havoc even for the best student” because “teachers give weighty homework assignments each day” and do not “have effective classroom management” (Sasser). Of course, the traditional schedule used by our school is the most efficient and simple schedule and is much better than an alternating block schedule. There is absolutely no reason to alter the traditional schedule currently used by our school. The overlapping middle-school and high-school schedules, which creates a Finals Schedule nightmare, is the most efficient system for both middle school and high school.
The teachers understand the conflicting schedules and take the time to interrupt their classes to assist the confused students, allowing for bonding time. Especially during Finals, this bonding time outweighs the “major impact [the diversions have] on the success of the testing students” (Mirabal). Not to mention that everyone is so used to the normal disruptions made by the middle schoolers while they “run around campus and yell” at lunch when the high schoolers are hard at work in class, and frankly visa versa, so it is really not a “major distraction” to teachers or other students anymore (Mirabal). On a wider note, the benefits of traditional schedules are incomparable. What student would not get excited for the start of the school year when he or she becomes “overwhelmed by the experience of adjusting to [numerous] teachers in one day and juggling multiple assignments and tests” (Rettig)?These experiences build character and allow for maximum social time when students delightedly pass from class to class at least seven times within one day. The benefits are simply infinite with a traditional schedule.
The alternating block schedule seems completely absurd. If higher grade point averages, “higher state proficiency scores… [and] improved ACT scores” do not signify a failing system, nothing does (Walker). This scheduling system harms both teachers and students. It allows teachers to “have more planning time… and better individualize instruction” (Sasser). Such possibilities in a school schedule are frightening.
A classroom full of “longer cooperative learning activities” is unimaginable and would be detrimental to both the teachers and students, where they would all be required to be more invested and engaged in their classes (“Research Spotlight on Block Scheduling”). For students, school would be much less exciting if “the number of discipline referrals to the office is reduced” and “in-school suspensions decline” (Rettig). It is unreasonable to believe that a school would care if there are “increases in student performance” with a block schedule (Rettig). Students who are “active learners” are the scariest, and the fact that “opportunities for discussion and learning are seemingly endless” would make any teacher or student cringe (DesRosier). Also, the day would be much more confusing for teachers and students if middle school and high school had the same schedules, especially during Finals Week, when every teacher looks forward to seeing their classes out of order with students popping in and out of wrong classes during the traditional schedule.
All these negative outcomes of the block schedule are preposterous and should be overlooked. If by chance one should decide to question the trustworthy, reliable, simple traditional schedule system, I have proposed a monstrous plan that would implement the unfavorable alternating block schedule for our school. Every Monday and Wednesday, students would arrive at school promptly at 8:10am for the first class. Throughout the day, they would visit two academic classes and two arts classes, each 80 minutes long with one break for lunch at 11pm. And every Tuesday and Thursday, students would visit two more academic classes and two more arts classes with the same basic time schedule.
On Friday, which would be a late-start day, students would visit every class with shortened periods of time to debrief on the week and prepare for the following week. There would be one set of high school teachers and one set of middle school teachers, and the times of the schedules would be the same for all students, with several academic or arts classes offered each period. With this unreasonable solution, students would miss the boredom of the traditional schedule and despise the required engagement in the longer classes, and teachers would not know how to fill up so much allotted class time. If by chance one should decide to unwillingly think about the alternating block schedule, he or she would notice that this schedule system really is the most effective for our school and high schools of all different kinds. Works Cited “Block Schedule.
” edglossary.org. Great Schools Partnership, 29 August 2013. Web. 9 February 2015.
DesRosier, Danielle. Personal Interview. 7 February 2015. Mirabal, Hanna. Personal Interview. 16 February 2015.
“Research Spotlight on Block Scheduling.” www.nea.org. National Education Association, 2015. Web.
7 February 2015. Rettig, Michael D. “The Effects of Block Scheduling.” www.aasa.org.
2015. Web. 9 February 2015. Sasser, Dr. Nesa. “Block vs.
Traditional Scheduling Student Perspective.” education.seattlepi.com. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC, 2015.
Web. 9 February 2015. Walker, Dr. Karen. “Research Brief: Length of Classes and Student Achievement.” gearup.
ous.edu. Education Partnerships, Inc, 25 April 2011. Web (PDF). 9 February 2015.