Why Block Scheduling? The Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory, a program of The Education Alliance at Brown University, conducted a major study of block scheduling and outlined the major advantages of block scheduling on students, parents, and teachers. The benefits of block speak for themselves:
* Improved Teaching and Learning More time is available for teachers to utilize a multitude of instructional strategies, differentiate for students, and complete lessons. * Ability to Focus Attention With the "less is more" philosophy, students have the ability to study concepts in more depth rather than just "cramming the facts" which improves retention. * Fragmentation Reduced Though block entails transition time, it is a transition of instructional strategies rather than the disruptive constant of changing classes, taking attendance, and settling students associated with a traditional schedule. * Stronger Interpersonal Relationships Student-Teacher relationships are often touted as one of the strongest determinants in student's academic success; block offers more time to develop relationships with students and tailor lessons to their interests, strengths, and weaknesses. * Teacher Collaboration Block scheduling allows for more time for PLCs that are beneficial, but often slighted due grading and other teacher duties. * Attitudes and Comprehension Improve Surveys indicate that student and teacher morale improve under block scheduling. Students feel they have more access to material and teachers which improves comprehension, and both teachers and students appreciate the extra class time to include projects and meaningful activities into their lessons. * Improvement in Discipline Studies show that most schools see a decrease in discipline issues after switching to block. Students are more challenged and engaged in class which decreases behavioral issues, and less switching of classes when many discipline issues arise allows for less opportunities for these disruptions.
Brown University identified possible disadvantages to block scheduling as well. These included an overuse of lecture and study hall if staff was not properly trained on instructional strategies that compliment block as well as a concern over student absences. When students miss class under a block schedule, they are missing much more material than they would under the traditional schedule. However, in the end, the benefits for student achievement seem to overshadow the concerns.