Why Hanover High Should Switch To a Block Schedule
Why is there no lunch period? Why is there so much homework? These are some recurring concerns brought up every year in our high school community. And often, the concerns boil down to how our schedule is set up. We are in the same boat with many other schools, but some have taken action. Those schools have switched to a new schedule layout: block scheduling. If our school follows suit on a block schedule, we may for once solve the problems discussed for decades.
Here is how our school schedule could change on a block schedule:
Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri
Period 1: 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Period 2: 9:35 AM – 11:05 AM
Activity Period: 11:05 AM – 11:50 AM
Period 3: 11:55 PM – 1:25 PM
Period 4: 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Period 1: 8:00 AM – 9:10 AM
Period 2: 9:15 AM – 10:25 AM
Activity Period/Council: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Period 3: 11:35 AM – 12:45 PM
Period 4: 12:50 PM – 2:00 PM
There would be an “A” day schedule and a “B” day schedule. The week would be alternating between these days (ABABA, BABAB). So in total, a student could take 8 classes.
The most apparent benefit of a block schedule is the class length. Teachers are able to run through their lesson plans more thoroughly. Although the block schedule does not actually increase total instruction time, the time wasted on settling in and anticipating the next class gets eliminated thereby improving efficiency of class time. There is also more time to conduct larger seminars and projects otherwise unachievable in a 50-minute period. Some would say that the biggest flaw of the block schedule is how a period takes a toll on the student’s attention span. However, some people may feel that they need time to actually settle into a class, rather than moving around and feeling busy. And in turn, extra time spent in the class today would mean a break the next day, so the timing evens out itself.
The schedule decreases homework load and student stress. Currently, most students would have to worry about studying and doing homework for 6 or 7 classes. With a block schedule, it lightens the load to 4 classes. Students would feel a lot less overwhelmed and can truly absorb classwork. They would become more eager, interested learners and devote focused time on their classes. Some bring up the problem that a longer class makes the teacher obligated to give more extensive homework. So although there are only four classes a day, the heavier assignments end up equating to the same amount. Although this may be true for some teachers wanting to keep up the pace, there are many teachers in our school who would advocate for lessened homework load. Those teachers would not deliberately create a stressful atmosphere in their classroom given our united goal to reduce stress.
A block schedule enables us to have a longer activity period, and this would feel like a real lunch period for students. It enables students to get involved in clubs/activities while not having that commitment take up this downtime in the day.
Finally, a block schedule is fitting for students wanting to pursue certain course. For instance, the schedule may allow a student to excel quickly in a foreign language. They may double up on the course and take two levels of a foreign language course in the same semester. Students may also take advantage of their extra slots with more electives to find their own interests.
In general, a block schedule in our school has numerous benefits that will reshape our school culture.