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Tori58 Tori58 is online now
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,451
Senior Member

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,451
Senior Member

Old 08-14-2020, 05:56 AM
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I've been a teacher for 32 years and I remember when block scheduling started to become popular in the 90's. I sat on more than one committee debating the pros and cons of it and I was involved with more than one music education organization working actively to keep the straight AB4x4 block out of schools because it destroys music programs.

Science teachers were the biggest proponents of it because they liked the extra time for labs. Other areas with lots of hands-on learning requiring set up and clean up (shop classes, art classes, tech. ed classes) also tended to think it was a good idea. Most other teachers hated the idea.

Now, younger teachers get better training in how to make the best use of a block schedule and many older teachers adjusted their teaching as well. One of the "selling points" of block scheduling was that students would get more guided practice rather than taking home work and practicing it incorrectly, so it's appropriate to have some "homework" time in the planning. What I usually see is that teachers rotate students through 3-4 activities, one of which is "homework." Now that a lot of content is delivered through Google Classroom - or something similar - students may be mostly working online when a sub is there.

Some teachers did simply refuse to adjust their teaching style to accomodate the block, though, so some of them still deliver the traditional 45 minutes of instruction and turn the rest of the time over to homework or busywork. They do that because they feel it was forced on them, not because they like it.

The "wasted study class" is a separate thing from block scheduling and happens in many schools that aren't on the block. It's much newer - it's become an educational fad in just the past 5-10 years or so. The idea is that it gives students time to make up work, get extra help, retake tests and quizzes, meet with guidance counselors and have co-curricular meetings - all without disrupting other classes. I've never seen any place where it's a "free period" for teachers since all teachers are required to supervise a certain number of students during this time. In some schools, teachers are required to provide some type of activity for students who don't have anything they need to get done. As a sub it's a pretty easy period because nobody comes to a sub for extra help or to retake tests. I agree, though, that's it's wasted time for many students. It's another case of how schools revolve around students who need extra help and/or are irresponsible students at the expense of responsible students who don't generally need extra help. ETA: I think this trend is mostly driven by "school report cards" and school funding being tied to school performance.
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