Block Scheduling

Block scheduling is a way to alter the structure of a basic school day and to change its format. The lessons in a regular timetable tend to be split into 7 or 8 sessions per day, with different lesson subjects for each or perhaps double lessons of the same subject. With block scheduling the day will be split into 3 or 4 lessons per day, allowing for more concentration on a subject in one block rather then the usual spreading the lesson out over a week. Some schools will use this procedure over the course of one or two weeks. In one week the schedule will aim to fulfill the lessons that the school must teach due to its governments rules. The two week version is used to spread out the lessons over a longer period with some things taught weekly and some alternate weeks.

This can be a useful in alternative education where some pupils might react better to an intensive lesson structure as opposed to changing subjects continuously throughout the day. This is especially useful in a structure where the children may be struggling in certain core subjects and an intensive lesson in a core subject such as English can be blended into subsequent lessons through out the day. A start to the day of reading and writing can then be followed through into science for example, the lesson can be about research and reporting. This means a core need is studied in two different lessons and in two different ways but is still focusing on reading and writing.

It does however mean a totally new teaching ethos for the school. The lesson structure will have to be planned differently in order to ensure the time is spent well and the pupils don’t get tired out or bored. How the lesson is taught will have to be changed because there may be longer than normal between lessons, this means that the pupils will remember what they have been taught between sessions.

Longer sessions will also allow things to be created and completed in one lesson, something not always possible before. Maybe a cookery lesson could go through from preparation to food completion, a field trip could allow more time at a location or simply a subject could be completely studied in one hit.

Before changing to block scheduling all of the above points need to be considered and all the pros and cons need to be weighed. It can work well for pupils and teachers alike, especially in alternative educational establishments. It will mean some big changes and some extra training and this also has to be factored into any decisions.