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Pros and Cons of Block Scheduling

As time goes by education reform tends to get better and better and teachers, parents, and administrators are willing to take another look at things to better the education system for our students. While all of the new ideas like modular education, looping and block scheduling are great and may work for some schools it is important to take a look at the pros and cons of each before venturing into them. This post will discuss block scheduling.

Block scheduling or modular scheduling is meant to provide a longer time span for students in each subject. Traditional school days are usually broken into six subjects that are each given 50 minutes. Block schedules can be broken up into man different formats. One school went from a traditional day to having two days a week of traditional days and three days where the students went to four subjects for 80 minutes each. Others may use what is considered a 4X4 schedule. This is where each semester the student only has four classes. So a normal year long class is only one semester long and a semester class is only one quarter long.
Pros of block scheduling:
  • Teachers and students spend more time together each day and therefore the relationship can improve and the teacher can really understand and meet the needs of the student.
  • Longer class periods are ideal for labs and cooperative learning activities.
  • The students may retain more information because they are receiving less new information daily. They can really take the time to grasp the concept presented.
  • Overall students have less homework because they have time to do it in class.
  • With more time teachers can help students with different learning styles and special needs.
  • The longer a teacher teaches in this style the less planning it takes and the more learning can be done.
Cons of block scheduling:
  • The schedule can feel choppy and lack continuity.
  • When a day is missed in a block schedule is the equivalent of two or more days on a traditional system. This means more make up work and a student can easily get way behind.
  • For teachers on the 4X4 schedule they can feel like they don’t have enough time to fit in all of the curriculum if a normal semester course has to be done in a quarter.
  • 4X4 teachers find it difficult to cover all the information in an AP course for students.
This method of scheduling is so new that there really are not studies to prove one way or the other as far as if this works for students and teachers. As with most things it has both positives and negatives.