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 Block Scheduling vs. Traditional Scheduling 
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As most of us know, block scheduling has became the preferred way of scheduling classes in the high schools. However, I've recently heard that the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools are considering switching back to traditional. Which method do you prefer? What are the benefits of using it? Does one way benefit, or take away from, some classes more than the other? There are many positives and negatives of both. Go!

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Justin McCrary


Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:49 pm
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I think the original purpose for instituting block scheduling was to give students in science classes time to complete experiments and students in math to have time to work on homework in the presence of the teacher in case they needed help (or that is what I have been told). My brother is currently a sophomore in a high school with block scheduling, and he complains that this is not how it is being used, and that it is very difficult to stay attentive for that long in one class, especially if a teacher lectures for the entire time. So, if the teachers make the effort to make their block classes active and interesting, I beleive it could be a good thing, but otherwise the students are miserable.


Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:59 am
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I think block scheduling is very difficult. Students are only allowed a certain number of classes a semester and by the end of the semester after having the same few every single day, they are going to completely lose focus. However, many people I know who had A-B schedules were not fond of it either because of the confusion of "is today an A or B day?" and other problems along with that.

I am not sure what "traditional" scheduling refers to, but for the sake of the discussion I will assume it is more classes for less time each day?

I like this approach much better. Every student has room for an elective (oh my gosh, do students still take those???) amongst their AP and honors classes. At my high school with block scheduling, a lot of students had to quit band or chorus and couldn't join the yearbook staff because all of those were offered third period... along with AP European history. If anyone wanted to take this advanced course, they would have to choose between the two course, which I think should NEVER have to happen.

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~~Kari Tatum~~


Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:19 am
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All I really know about this topic is that after an hour and a half I'm not even listening anymore. I think that if the class was stretched over a whole year students probably wouldnt remember as much, but its hard for even me to listen for an hour and and half. I cant imagine being a student these days and trying to listen in class. They do give the students breaks and stuff, and try to only lecture for so many minutes, and then try and do an activity. So overall, the block works the best, in my opinion.

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Jerry Nicole Whitener (Nicole)


Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:49 pm
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In middle school I had a modified block scheduling and in high school all I have ever known was block scheduling. I can argue its positive and negative attributes but I have never been in a school that has 8 classes a day for the whole year so I have less to say about it.

Pros
From the student perspective, I really liked block scheduling. It allowed me to take six math classes in high school, something I could not have done otherwise. Also, I really liked changing classes halfway through the year. It kept things fresh. As far as keeping students' attention during a class period, I don't think it has to be ninety minutes of lecture. It allows the teacher flexibility to be creative and have different activities. Although, one of my teachers in high school happened to be very effective as a lecturer and tended to lecture and have discussions for most of the class with a 3-4 minute water break halfway through. It was effective for him. I think ultimately how well the time is used is determined by the teacher.

From the perspective of a future art teacher, 90 minutes makes planning a lot easier. In almost every art lesson, a chunk of time at the beginning and end of class is for setting up and cleaning up. If it is a fifty minute class and 7-10 minutes everyday are eaten up from this prep and cleaning time, that's a lot less time for instruction and creation.

Cons

I know my French teacher hated block scheduling because it was not effective for what we learned in her class. Also, it is a problem when it comes to AP exams. The year after I graduated NC went back to starting school in the end of August instead of the beginning. This caused the block schedule break to be in the end of January instead of right after Winter break. Regardless, the AP exams are still the first week of May. For students taking AP second semester, this gave them less time to prepare. And, there is a month of school left after the AP exam. We only had a week and a half or two weeks left and it was hard to find meaningful lessons to fill that time. I imagine with more leftover time, it is a challenge for teachers.

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Emily Mackie


Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:37 pm
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I personally really liked block scheduling. I feel like having less classes to deal with gave me more time to focus on each class (both inside and outside of school). I do agree that it can be hard to focus for this long, but if a student is integrated into this system early on in their schooling I think it would be easier than for some of us who didn't have this scheduling until later on. I also believe that teachers giving time for activities and what not would help with this...and I believe as well that having longer class periods ALLOWS for something other than a lecture. The only problems I had with the block schedule was 1. after the new calendar passed, this put our exams AFTER Christmas break, which caused a lot of stress, but my senior year was the first time this had happened so I'm sure it's become a little better. 2. AP exams are only given at the end of a school year, so students who have an AP class their first semester need a review session before the exams. I was in this situation, but with a good review session, and a good teacher I had no problem with the exam. So, basically, I really like block scheduling.

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Amanda Klinger


Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:46 pm
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Along with Amanda, I really liked block scheduling. I think that my high school was probably one of the last schools to switch over because I completed two years of high school before we switched, therefore I got to experience both sides. I definitely preferred the block schedule over the traditional schedule. Although sometimes I got annoyed with the length of time I had to sit in one class, the block schedule gave us the opportunity to take more classes. With the traditional schedule, our four years were pretty much laid out for us, but with the block schedule, we had room/time to take extra classes that interested us. I remember being able to take a photograhy class, which I would not have gotten the opportunity to do with the traditional schedule. Also, I feel that with the tradtitional schedule (with about 50 minutes in each class), by the time you got settled into the class, reviewed last class, and started something new, it was time to change classes. I always felt like I was rushed in getting my work done, or understanding what I was being taught. With the block schedule, we had plenty of time to learn and work. Like I said, being able to experience both situations definitely caused me to support block scheduling over traditional scheduling.

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Dana Currin


Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:17 pm
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