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It's a rarity to come across two educational institutions who have identical timetables in terms of lesson length and timings. Some schools choose to spend more time on particular subjects, whilst others prefer to place equal emphasis on them all. One increasingly popular way or organizing the daily schooling regime is block scheduling, which focuses on offering students fewer classes a day but ensuring that these cover longer time slots. As we're about to unveil, this approach has caused a large divide between certain social groups.
The major concern people who oppose block scheduling have is that student concentration begins to drop after spending so much time on one subject area in the same environment. Studies suggest that the optimum length of time for a child to be in class is a maximum of 50 minutes, taking into account deductions for settling down and organizing equipment prior to the lesson properly commencing.
Any time after this, and students start to falter and lose interest, some research suggests. There are some occasions, in more specialized educational units such as medical schools, where pupils are required to focus on one topic for the whole day. Naturally, if a student misses a certain day due to illness or for any other reason, it's made more difficult for them to catch up when they return.
Another concern of this type of timetable for any educational organization is the impact it has on other aspects of learning. Through using block scheduling, there will be times when pupils do not study particular subjects for a fairly long period. Ultimately, this could lead to their performances and retention of information in these areas to drop considerably.
Don't let this influx of negative news deter you completely, though - it isn't all bad. Some aspects of block scheduling could well provide an important boost to learning effectiveness. Currently, a considerable amount of time that could be used for learning purposes is wasted on transitions between one class and the next. Taking out pens and pencils, getting exercise books and diaries from bags, and just having a general lesson introduction takes up valuable minutes - a factor reduced when fewer lessons take place in one school day.
The approach also allows teachers to devote more of their attention to struggling students; time isn't so tight, and so there's more of an opportunity to listen any concerns individuals may have about certain elements of topics. Practical activities can also be carried out more efficiently. Less of a rush in terms of getting apparatus out and setting it up correctly reduces health and safety risks, and maximizes retention of the concepts being looked at.
In the end, the pros and cons relating to block scheduling appear to be never ending. The debate as to whether or not it should be a widespread tactic in schools and universities across the United States isn't one that looks likely to cool any time soon, but it's definitely a fair conclusion to say that the method is on the rise in terms of its popularity.