As an aspiring teacher, a recent survey administered by the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Tracey Landry, sparked my curiosity regarding education models. While this survey was purely for analysis, it rose further questions about the education system now in contrast to the system many of our parents experienced, including the typical eight period schedule and times where Common Core wasn’t a priority. Based off of my experience in a classroom and research, it is clear that the way children learn now is extremely different; however, these changes are made in the best interest of the students and how they will succeed in competing in the world that we live in today.
Although block schedules are not a discussion in the district, many schools around the area follow the model, including Mundelein. A block schedule has many different types of models, but the main difference between a block schedule and the system that North has (an eight period bell schedule) is that the former includes less classes per day and longer period times. Rather than heading to eight different classes per day, a student may only encounter four or five classes per day. The reason for this decision may be based off of the mission of the school, its student body and desires of the community. Many disadvantages of implementing a block schedule include the possible loss of attention spans from many students (who already don’t receive enough sleep), leaving less material understood by students. In addition, I would fear that the teacher-student relationship would suffer, as many students would agree that it is relieving to see their teachers every day for a certain amount of time. One of the most wonderful things about education is the bond that forms between the instructor and the student during a lesson or a debate, and taking days away from those interactions may sever that bond.
Although I would prefer an eight period day, a majority of students who took the survey actually preferred the modified block. Opinions may vary, but one of the advantages that I see of a modified block are less classes each day, allowing the student to concentrate on fewer subjects but in hopes of focusing more intently. Furthermore, colleges follow this model, and if schools adopted this system, it could possibly ready the students for post-high school education. Whether I like it or not, our generation is growing at such a rate that we need to know different skills than our parents, and to accommodate the need for a deeper understanding of a subject may require more than 50 minutes of instruction every weekday. For now, however, I’m cherishing my senior year with the familiar rhythm of an eight period bell schedule.