Blocks are Tox…ic


Schools nation, even worldwide are changing. Technology is more present in classrooms, requirements are expanding, but most importantly, many schools are transitioning to a block schedule. A block schedule is made up of four 90 minute classes, and the year is divided into quarters, which are about eight weeks long each. The reasoning these classes only last about eight weeks, is the theory that because students are meeting for 90 minutes every day, it should equal the amount of time you would spend in a class that is a semester long. One of the reasons to do this is that it should decrease the stress a student has and decrease the chances of students forgetting what they learn. Students are guessed to have higher chances of not doing well in classes that are set up to be periods because of how many classes they have in a day and how short the classes are. Teachers may also be able to benefit from block scheduling because they have 90 minutes for a prep time instead of only 50.

What administration does not consider is that it actually increases the homework. A student may only have four classes in a day, however because they are crammed into only eight weeks and it has to cover a whole semester worth of information, so the homework increases. It is also estimated that by the time a person reaches 12 years old, their attention span is a short 22 minutes. In some schools with block schedules, administration requests breaks to be held throughout the class, however most teachers do not, because when given 90 minutes they want to use as much of that as possible. The motivation difference is also vastly different. A student sitting in a 90 minute class period that is having a bad day, or just tired, looks at the clock and internally dies because they still have over an hour left of class, where a student that is sitting in a 50 minute class, looks at the clock to have just 30 minutes left in class. Knowing that in a short amount of time, one will get to move on to another class, lunch, or head home, can motivate them to buckle down and really focus for the last part of class. However some kids may get discouraged when thinking in class how many classes they have for the rest of the day. If it’s 10 o’clock in the morning, students on a block schedule only have two more classes, while students on period schedules have about four classes left. The theory is that teachers can expand their teachings and try to have it more creative and explore different ways, they also are able to get more done because of the lengthened time. However, the sad reality is that most teachers do not use the time to their advantage, and as hard as they try, it is nearly impossible to keep math interesting and engaging for 90 minutes. Along with that, kids that take longer to process information may not benefit from this set up because, some kids need the consistent reminder over an entire semester or year of what they are learning. When it comes to block schedules, units are rushed so for kids that cannot take information is as fast. Block schedules make it so one may be introduced to a new unit on a Monday and the next Friday they have their unit test. Block schedules become a problem when it comes to AP classes because if the class is held first and second quarter, or second and third, by the time the AP exam rolls around in the spring, they easily forgot most of what they learned.

Block schedules are unproductive, unrealistic, and too limiting. A kid simply cannot sit in one class for 90 minutes five days out of every week, and deal with the load of homework outside of those 90 minutes. Students also end up spending more time studying for a test just to study and pass than really being able to at least attempt to comprehend the material they are learning more than just what is needed to pass.