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The Issue Of Block Scheduling In Schools

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Lately there seems to be talk about adapting a block schedule to Unit 5 High Schools. A typical block schedule is where students take two classes in the morning and two in the afternoon. These four class periods are all 90-minutes each. This way year long courses are cut to a semester and semester course to a marking period. Proponents of this schedule state many advantages to plan. Better grades, students learn more, more teacher- student interaction, more time for teacher planning, and less stress are a few of them. Though supporters for the block schedule say that it will improve education, I do not come to the same conclusion.
The most serious concern with block scheduling is the psychological problems. First of all, studies have shown that the average student has an attention span of 45 minutes. That is the length of a normal class period. By implementing a block schedule there are now 90 minutes of class instead of the old 45. If students only have a 45-minute attention span and there is 90 minutes of class, then really the additional 45 minutes of time is actually being wasted. Another problem with 90-minute classes is that students are less likely to remember the same amount as they would in a regular class time. As humans we tend to remember the things we do first (primacy) and the things we to last (regency). The time in the middles is sag time and is remembered at a much lower percentage. So basically you start our remembering a greater percentage of things in the beginning and as you move to the middle of your time period you remember a lower percentage. Then you remember more ...

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