During an interesting year, BSM decided to schedule students to have four classes per day that are 80 minutes long, as opposed to eight per day that were 40 minutes long. This change was implemented in an effort to keep students as distant as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak. This decision is both beneficial and detrimental in some aspects, but the benefits clearly outweigh the detrimental effects.
The only detrimental effects of block scheduling is that it is difficult for students to pay attention for 80 minutes straight. Many students, including myself, often find it difficult, especially over zoom, to keep their attention on the content rather than dozing off at some time within the period.
One of the best benefits is that teachers can get much more information out to their students in one period. They are able to expand their varieties of teaching and have much more time to do whatever they might have planned. Teachers are also able to have a better understanding of how their students are doing, as they have less classes to teach, therefore less students to focus on. This is highly beneficial because students can possibly get twice as much information in one period, as well as twice as much time to reflect and consider the content of the class.
The other benefit is that we currently have four classes per quarter, rather than eight. This gives students an opportunity to give their full attention and effort in understanding the content provided for them, as we have less to juggle. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards believes this is a considerable benefit: “Students have more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a school day.”
Another benefit is work time. With four long classes, students don’t have to worry as much about previous periods and what assignments there might be, as most of the time teachers give work time during class. Plus only four classes means more time outside of school for completing any homework.
The last benefit I noticed is that block days in two cohorts is a much safer alternative in the world of COVID. Students and teachers only come in contact with four classes throughout each day, and with cohorts, we are able to keep safe distance.