Illustration by Grace O’Keefe
Wash, rinse, repeat. That’s what we do when we attend the same six classes every day at Berkeley High School (BHS), five days a week, for 36 weeks. It can get extremely boring to attend the same classes day in and day out, and BHS’s traditional scheduling method is a reason why students lose interest in their classes.
There’s no dispute over the fact that school gets boring, but it goes deeper than the stereotypical hormonal teenager being apathetic towards school. Having the same schedule everyday becomes tremendously repetitive. Students often times feel as if they are stuck in a rut at school, attending classes but feeling unmotivated or disengaged in class. This lack of excitement can lead to resentment towards school entirely.
Could this problem be fixed by block scheduling? Currently, each student at BHS has the same classes in the same order every single day. With block scheduling, students would have three classes each day in periods that would last two hours each, switching off the classes you take each day. Often times, schools have block scheduling four days a week, and one day where all six periods take place. If this happened at BHS, we would probably keep our beloved “Late Start Mondays” as they are, and have Tuesdays through Fridays be block scheduled.
Some classes, like math and science, are better suited for block scheduling. It seems impossible and unproductive to attempt to gain a deeper level of understanding of a new concept in a mere 58 minutes. Other classes that are less about conceptual ideas and more focused on memorization could suffer from a switch to block scheduling. This includes foreign language and history classes, where it is common that students are already bored within the 58 minute period.
It seems that block scheduling doesn’t solve our boredom dilemma any better than a traditional schedule. While students may be more engaged by a differing daily routine, certain subjects will turn into absolute snooze fests. However a key asset of block schedule is less homework. With having classes every two days, students will have lighter daily homework loads. This could hopefully allow for students to participate in more extracurricular activities, have improved mental health, and most importantly, more sleep!
So when we look at our repetitive school days and wonder if there’s any way we can get out of the seemingly never-ending cycle of the same six classes, five days a week, for 36 weeks, maybe we should look to block scheduling as a way to change it up. It doesn’t solve all our issues, but it has definite promise.