Let's go back through time to 14-year-old me, eager yet anxious for her first day of high school. New building, new friends, new classes and the most frightening, a new schedule. I would not be on a typical school schedule of six to eight classes 45 or 50 minutes each day. Instead, I would enroll in four classes per semester, with each lasting 90 minutes otherwise known as block scheduling. I ended up cruising through my first day of classes, and within a week I had already grown accustomed to it.
One of my high school's main distinctive features from other schools in the area is the block scheduling. They take pride in this scheduling dynamic, and I understand why.
For one thing, we learned more material given the extra 50 minutes, and we were given the time to start class discussions concerning that material in the same class period. This allowed us to engage and bond with not only other students but the teacher. I have formed several strong relationships with my high school teachers and still keep my connections with them to this day, whether through social media or making a visit.
Another benefit of block scheduling is the disrupted monotony that a typical class schedule tends to become. My schedule in high school consisted of four 90 minute classes per semester, which would then change into four different classes around January, giving us eight credits a year which not all high schools can offer depending on the number of classes their curriculum provides per year. The format of block scheduling in correlation with semesters (or trimesters in some high schools) gives students an opportunity to retake a class they do not pass instead of waiting until next school year and potentially falling behind.
After four years on a block schedule, and continuing that through college, I find that one of its strongest advantages comes in language classes. On a block schedule, You are given more room to fit more language classes. For example, I can enroll in a first level Spanish class for the fall semester and move on to the second level in the spring of that same year. So, on a four year block schedule I can enroll in eight language classes, assuming I take one language class per semester. That number doubles if the schedule can allow for more than one language course a semester. Additionally, students can designate more time and energy to learning and internalizing the material as block scheduling gives them more exposure to the language. In an era where we stay connected with people around the world constantly, the importance of learning another language is stressed more now than ever.
While the idea of adding nearly an hour to classes may sound dreadful to students, the benefits of block scheduling far outweigh the drawbacks.