Rettig Alternative schedules may not add hours to the school day, but they can vastly improve the quality of the time students spend at school. Scheduling is a valuable but untapped resource for school improvement. Through our work in schools across the country, we have seen again and again how a well-crafted schedule can result in more effective use of time, space, and resources human as well as material ; improve instructional climate; help solve problems related to the delivery of instruction; and assist in establishing desired programs and instructional practices. We believe that Deming was right when he said that it is more often the structure of an organization than the inadequacies of the people who work within it that causes problems Bonstingl
A Solution or a Problem? The merits of block scheduling are a subject of great debate. Schools throughout the United States are adopting block scheduling in dramatically increasing numbers.
The move to block scheduling, however, has sparked controversy. Hailed by proponents as a vehicle for greater depth and flexibility in education, block scheduling has turned off some educators and parents, who criticize it as a faddish approach that fails to enhance academic performance.
In an article titled "All Around the Block: Rettig and Robert Lynn Canady estimate that "more than 50 percent of high schools in the United States are either using or considering a form of block scheduling.
In the alternate-day schedule students and teachers meet every-other-day for extended time periods rather than meeting every day for shorter periods.
Students take two or three courses every 60 days in a trimester plan to earn six to nine credits per year. Many schools work with schedules that are variations or combinations of these plans. For example, a school in Broward County, Florida, has adapted the trimester plan by adding three year-long classes to six trimester courses in order to accommodate musical performing groups and Advance Placement subjects, which need or prefer to go year round.
Other school districts combine long terms and short terms to provide time for remediation and enrichment for students, as needed. When students attend as many as eight relatively short classes in different subjects every day, instruction can become fragmented; longer class periods give students more time to think and engage in active learning.
A schedule with one relatively short period after another can create a hectic, assembly-line environment; A schedule that releases hundreds or thousands of adolescents into hallways six, seven, or eight times each school day for four or five minutes of noise and chaotic movement can exacerbate discipline problems.
Teachers benefit from more useable instructional time each day because less time is lost with beginning and ending classes. A study by Carl Glickman, a University of Georgia professor, of high schools and 11, students reported that schools in which active learning methods were predominant had significantly higher achievement as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Teachers at schools with block scheduling may use longer instructional periods to engage students in experiments, writing, and other forms of active learning, as opposed to merely lecturing students. In addition, the alternate-day schedule reduces the time teachers spend in record keeping because records need be kept only every other day instead of every day.
Grades and records need be kept for fewer students per semester. In addition, some students graduate in three years or earn a year of college credit while still in high school because eight credits can be earned each school year.
Carroll, also challenges the traditional organization of secondary schools. According to Carroll, a former superintendent who is now an education consultant and author, nothing is wrong with the traditional schedule "except that it prevents teachers from teaching well and students from learning well.
Like Copernicus, the plan deals with facts and research that has been known for a long time, but which never seemed to make sense in the real world of schools. It involves change based on research and change that is systemic.
It has a built-in method of continuing evaluation. Carroll emphasizes that the Copernican Plan is not an end; it is a means to an end. Critics of block scheduling assert that the new scheduling format creates or exacerbates certain educational problems. What will students do for minute periods?
Proponents of block scheduling cite active learning as the key to keeping students engaged and learning during longer periods.
But, even with a block-scheduling format, critics say, many teachers continue simply to lecture students rather than engaging them in active learning.Bon Secours Hospital Cork. Leading cancer care experts from UPMC and Bon Secours Health System speak at National Oncology Symposium. Build your career.
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