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Should Schools Use Block Scheduling?

Essay by   •  March 31, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  896 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,375 Views

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Block Scheduling vs. Traditional Scheduling

As each new school year passes and the next one approaches, administrators and teachers tend to ponder how to make class time more effective. Students learn many new concepts and bits of information throughout a school year, and retention of this information is vital as students' progress through school. Researchers in Germany conducted experiments to see if block scheduling is more effective than the traditional class scheduling.

The typical school settings in Germany devote one or two lessons per week (each lesson lasting 45 minutes) to each of many different subjects. Teachers and school experts made claims that larger blocks of time should be designated to teach a topic more in depth (Randler, C., Kranich, K., & Eisele, M., 2008). Randler et al. (2008) stated that teachers felt like these larger blocks would help students focus on one specific subject without any large or constant interruptions.

One hundred sixteen 7th grade students participated in this experiment. Sixty-six students studied under the block scheduling format, while the other fifty continued in weekly lessons (Randler et al., 2008).

Randler et al. (2008) studied the water lily:

The educational treatment of the water lily was embedded into an entire teaching sequence that first started with a teacher-centered introduction into the ecosystem lake as a whole, and ended with some paperwork dealing with competition of different bird species and their ecological niche. In detail, the program dealt with the ecological adaptations of the water lily, e.g. the flexibility of the stalk, the aerenchym, which makes a gas transport possible, the wax like structure of the epidermis of the leaves. The entire educational unit consisted of four lessons each scheduled 45 minutes and the time devoted to the water lily made up 90 min. Both educational approaches comprised a set of experiments and of original material. (pg. 19)

"The only difference existed in the form of the treatments: (i) the block scheduled course was taught during one morning from 8:00 until 12:00, while (ii) the weekly lessons were enrolled single in lessons and always one lesson was devoted to the subjects" (Randler et al., 2008, pg. 20). Any prior knowledge of the subject was determined by administering a specific pre-test to each group. This test included questions about ecology, ecological adaptations and the ecological niche concept (Randler et al., 2008). Right after the designated learning time was completed, a post-test was administered. Seven weeks later a retention test was given which was equivalent to the post-test (Randler et al., 2008, pg. 20).

Randler et al. (2008) found that "the observed differences in the immediate post-test seem to be a result of the differences in the enrollment of the courses.

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