Opposing Viewpoints: Squaring Off about Block Schedule

Oracle staffers Courtney Suber and Emily Papleux “Square Off” about block schedule! (Not pictured: Jasmine Potts)

By: Courtney Suber and Emily Papleux , with Jasmine Potts

North Springs has been on a “regular” schedule since Fulton County went off a countywide block schedule after the 2006-2007 school year. After many years of discussion and seven period days (and many more years of mixed schedules, including an eight period day with “Sparta Time” and a partial block with seven periods three days a week and two days of mid-week block–confusing, right?), North Springs is poised to convert to an A-B block schedule day of four ninety minute classes a day.

Teachers experienced a round-robin style training session to learn more about teaching on block. The school even “piloted” a “mock block” where two days became a “test drive”” of the block schedule, and students were polled with their opinions overwhelmingly in favor. Block schedule is a now a given. However, Oracle staffers Emily Papleux and Jasmine Potts wanted to express their position that maybe it’s not such a good idea. Here Courtney Suber (with some thoughts from Jasmine) square off against staffer Emily Papleux about block.

Courtney & Jasmine: (Con):

While block schedule poses several pros, there’s also a severe list of cons associated with the move. Block schedule is a drastic change compared to a normal day in North Springs. There are only four periods a day, each one an hour-and-a half. Some may find this beneficial, as students will have more time to understand the subject in class, but others may argue that this change is a challenge to students and cause confusion and disorganization because of alternating days.

Another con of block schedule is a cause for procrastination. Having a class every other day may encourage students to put off work which overall results in bad study habits. Block schedule can also result in cramming information only to forget it. When students are required to sit and cram for two hours a day, they may forget all that they learned once the next day comes. Implementing block schedule and an extra period can also add on to stress that students already currently face. Students at North Springs currently have 7 periods, and adding a class can curate stress and make for a heavier workload. Block schedule is overall negative and serves nearly only teachers rather than students in terms of planning.

As students like the sound of a reduced schedule, but what happens when we miss information? Missing one day of school equals missing two full days. With those two days, students could fall behind dramatically, thus making them become frustrated. Being frustrated causes stress, which leads to students becoming tired easily. Students already become bored easily, which leads to sleeping in class when they are supposed to be having more instructional time. We know this sounds like a slippery slope, but hey–we’re students!

With a block schedule you’d think more work is being learned, but decreased learning is a major factor. Decreased learning comes from being tired often, and longer class hours, while all missing school. In our opinion the block schedule is draining and crazy. Having fewer days of schools but more hours of information is competitive. Honestly, students can barely stay in class thirty minutes without asking to leave or just simply skip the class. Do you really think an hour plus more would be better?

Emily (Pro):

Block schedule will help students focus more and have more time each day more on certain subjects. Students also have more days to finish homework and to study for tests between classes. Having more time in a period helps teachers and students organize themselves, with more time to focus on teaching their students, making sure they understand the material, or even taking tests and practices tests, such as the EOCs and APs.

Block can also help students with their work, social and extracurricular lives. Students with jobs, sports or clubs don’t have to cram all their homework in one night, leaving more time for practice and understanding. Students have more time for homework and extracurricular activities with this schedule. Students have major responsibilities balancing jobs, financial aid, school, and homework; block schedule will help them balance this.

Block schedule also helps teachers reach out to those who are struggling. With an average of 25 students, not all individuals may get the help they need in the 45 minute time-window that is a period. This additional given time helps teachers to make sure the learned topic is understood and each student comprehends the subject at hand. It also gives teachers more time to plan each day, which means faster returns on grading and more time to plan –rather than rush– awesome lessons.

Students’ brains are also still developing and need more time to process information given to them. Starting seven new lessons every day as North Springs as been doing confuses the mind and rushes the brain. This isn’t healthy and the young high school adolescent requires more time for learning and understanding. Block schedule lessens the load and helps improve grade averages and school participation overall. More time to pass between classes, more time to grade and pass back work, more time to learn (and pass) in class–what could be better?

            

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