In article <9504270105.AA26681@oz.plymouth.edu>, firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Hayden) wrote:
> Although > > > This posting is directed toward high school teachers. > > I'd like to offer a comment based on teaching stats. in college -- > mostly in service courses for business majors. For Stats. I (mostly > sophomores, many with no major declared) I prefer 50 min. classes 3 > times per week so they don't forget they are taking the course, while > for Stats. 2 (mostly senior business majors) I prefer 2 75 min. > meetings per week because the content requires more in-depth > treatment. While these courses are not taught in most high schools, > the question I want to raise is whether one can say that one schedule > is "best": what works best may depend on the course content, the > audience, and the teaching style. > > Many schools have or are in > > the precess of changing the teaching day from 7-8 periods to 4 > blocks of time. My > > question is for anyone with experience in both systems of > scheduling. Can the > > students process as much material in a semester in block as > could be processed in the > > typical yearly schedule? Any other revalent comments, ideas, > and suggestions > > would be greatly appreciated. I am in favor of the change ASAP > to allow me more time to > > develope projects with the students but not all of the members > of the department are > > as excited about changing. Thank you for anything that you can volunteer. > > > Then in article <199504270140.VAA24308@oak.cc.swarthmore.edu>, email@example.com (Hilary Gehlbach , Hilary Gehlbach) wrote:
> Okay - > > I confess I'm not a high school teacher, but I thought I'd add my two cents > worth nonetheless. While I was in high school, my school changed its > scheduling from the regular 45-50 minute periods daily to a rotating > schedule in which most classes were still regular length each day, but one > class each day met for 2 hours. Thus, every eight days, you would have > math for 2 hours, but on other days it would be 45 minutes. This seemed to > me an effective system - it gave the teacher the opportunity to do > something a bit different or more in depth during the long periods, but > didn't lose student interest since it was only every week or so.
I am not currently in the classroom, but was for 18 years. Over the course of two years my school experimented with "block scheduling." The results seem to corroborate the comments of both Hilary Gehlbach and Bob Hayden.
In the first year of our experimenting, we tried it once every other week. Odd numbered periods met on Tues. for twice their normal length of time, and even numbers met on Wed. The following week returned to normal scheduling. The week following that the block schedule and so on through most of a semester.
We structured it the way we did to make the transition easier for teachers at the school. We were used to the 50 min. period. Our lessons and teaching repertoire assumed that structural element. We needed time to try out something new, time to reflect on what we tried, time to revise for the next time it occurred, and time to develop a repertoire for longer class periods. The response was very favorable. Most teachers and student liked the change of pace. Science and art teachers wanted to institute it wholesale. Foreign language teachers were the most resistant (they said the daily contact was needed to develop the speaking vocabulary). --- Overall, this is much like the reaction Hilary described.
The next year we dove into it full time and it was a total disaster. Many who had liked it the first year change their minds. It did not meet the needs of everyone, just as the old system did not meet the needs of everyone. Teachers were not ready for the increased demand of revising all lessons to the new time frame and students were discombobulated by a new time structure. They really resented the imposition of a system on them. As did many of the teachers. It fell apart that year and we abandoned block scheduling. --- What works best as Bob Hayden said is different for different purposes and for different people.
The moral of the story: too much of a good thing is not a good thing ... variety is the spice of life ... In retrospect, I wonder how our trial model would have done if we had continued it. I hope this is of some use to those considering such stuctural changes.