Schedule with shorter periods strengthens study and social patterns


Photo illustration: Andrew Johnson

A student falls asleep during a long, laborious class period of the block-schedule. The trendy block schedule allows too much time for students and teachers to drift into unproductivity. During the eight-period day, students’ minds remain alert and occupied by changing environments and consistent day-to-day routines.

Andrew Johnson, Staff Writer

Many schools across the United States have decided to change their schedules to a modern block-based day— a decision most will come to regret. Only a few years ago did Saint Paul Academy and Summit School switch it’s period schedule from eight periods per day to four per day. However, the school should really be trying to bring back the eight-period day. Students that use the eight period schedule are on a faster track to reaching their academic potential.

As SPA has converted to the block schedule, students have altered their study and social patterns away from the eight-period-per-day timeline. Not only do they reach their potential, but it teaches them the ideals of working hard, and persevering through hours of homework and rigorous studying. With the eight periods per day, students learn the ideals of what makes a hardworker, which aids them later in life when hard work is essential to success. Not only does it make them harder workers, but it also makes students more inclined to ask their teachers questions about their studies, because they only have one night to complete them.

With the eight periods per day, students learn the ideals of what makes a hardworker, which aids them later in life when hard work is essential to success.”

In the traditional eight period day, each class is 45 minutes long. Students who have attention deficit disorder, as well as the average student who has a hard time focusing for excessive periods of time, benefit from shorter more frequent classes. This time allotment also allows students with learning disabilities, like dyslexia, to have to process less information than in a 75 minute period, the length of a typical block schedule day. The eight period schedule also helps students make more friends. Because of the eight 45 minute periods per day, students have more of a chance to see a wide variety of people each day, on a consistent basis. This consistency allows them to solidify the friendships. On the other hand, with the block schedule, students interact with fewer students per day and only see these people once every two days. When students see each other 45 minutes per day they gain more comfortability their classmates, turning more of them into friends.

Students will have more time in school to study or review their work, which will give them less homework to do when they get home. This process contributes to more sleep, which is a central component to the success of the adolescent and teenage brain. In essence, the 8 period schedule is better not only for a student’s work ethic and social life, but also for their brain.

The current block schedule doesn’t provide students or teachers these same benefits.  SPA administration and faculty need to rethink their decision to implement the block-based schedule, and seriously consider and speedily reimplement the eight period day. Above all, the eight period schedule supports the common goal to enrich the minds of students in order to help them become the best student they can possibly be, a goal that is vital in supporting SPA for years to come.