Over time, the education industry has evolved. Two years ago, we saw schools switching from traditional classroom learning to virtual learning. Even though this happened because of the global pandemic, online learning proved super successful. As almost everything has started normally, educators should continue with traditional classrooms. However, the question is, would classroom learning be equally effective in today’s era?
Believe it or not, the world has changed in the last two years. People no longer have the same concentration levels and attention spans since they get easily distracted. Therefore, educational institutes have to rethink and develop a model suitable for today’s generation. Besides online learning, they can opt for block teaching. It is an alternative to conventional classroom scheduling that allows students to focus and excel in academia.
Block teaching requires students to take two to four classes instead of eight classes every day. It allows them to spend more time and concentrate on each class. Students will have fewer classes per day, but all the subjects will rotate. Many schools have already adopted this model, and soon, we will see it getting implemented in universities.
If you want to learn about it, have a look below. Here we highlight a few benefits of block teaching and how it can be the future in higher education.
- Improves Academic Performance
One of the most common reasons educators prefer switching to block teaching is that it can improve students’ academic performance. As they only have 3-4 classes every day, students can devote full attention. Many eLearning schools offering online degrees and courses are also moving to block teaching. Instead of having 6-8 classes every day, they have started conducting two classes of three hours each.
Block schedules increase students’ time in each class, allowing them to ask questions and get personalized instructions from teachers. In turn, this improves grades and classroom participation.
- Enhances Learning Spectrum
Having longer classes of the same subject allows teachers to go into details. The added time ensures teachers can adapt their teaching style to all students in the class. Likewise, they can focus more on students who are lagging or weak in the subject area. Moreover, teachers can have fun activities in the classroom as they don’t have any time constraints. Having interactive sessions in the classroom improves students’ participation, helping them better understand the subject matter.
Further, teachers can benefit from longer planning periods. They can get more things done within the confines of their regular schedule, meaning less after-hours work. For instance, if students are busy with the assignment, they can prepare the learning curriculum for next week.
- Promotes Project-Based Learning
Most teachers come to class, present PowerPoint slides and lectures. It might seem like a suitable approach, but it’s no longer effective. Now, students learn better through hands-on experiences and interactive projects. They want the practical application of what they learn; otherwise, they cannot remember the concepts. As block teaching allows students to take fewer classes, they can do more interactive projects. For instance, they can have a role-play in the classroom when learning about conflict resolution. It will help them understand how to resolve conflicts in real-time.
- Less Homework for Students
Truthfully, students don’t like homework. They spend more than eight hours in schools and want to utilize the rest of the time in extracurriculars. After all, some students are sports enthusiasts while others love to socialize. Fortunately, block teaching is making students’ lives easier. With more time with teachers, students can work on the curriculum instead of bringing work home.
Likewise, teachers can also complete the course outline in the classroom, ensuring students don’t have work at home. However, that doesn’t mean students don’t receive assignments and projects. They still have to work at home on the assessments but with flexible deadlines.
Drawbacks of Block Teaching
In the current dynamics, block teaching seems like the perfect alternative to traditional classroom learning. However, there are a few drawbacks to this learning style. Have a look below.
- Lack of Continuity: Students can lose their knowledge base during the off days by reducing contact hours. For instance, if IT class is only once or twice a week, students might forget the concepts a week later.
- Loss of Work: Under the block teaching schedule, students on sick leave will lose a lot of learning material. It can put students at a disadvantage, and they might find it challenging to catch up.
- Redundant Teaching Style: Not all teachers will be willing to adopt an individualized learning style. Hence, some might continue with the lectures for 3-hours straight that can bore the students, affecting their academic performance.
Strategies for Block Teaching
Lecturing for 80-120 minutes will make any teacher burn out, and possible students will lose interest too. Therefore, teachers must vary their instruction and style in block teaching to ensure effectiveness. With competent teaching strategies and well-prepared teachers, block teaching can be super helpful. Here is a list of the strategies teachers can use under block teaching.
- Teachers should have two or three mini-lessons on hand to fill in for the extra time. The topics should be different so that students enjoy learning.
- They can initiate group discussions, role-plays, simulations, and other cooperative learning activities.
- Further, teachers can use Gardner’s multiple intelligences and tap into various learning models. Perhaps, they can opt for kinesthetic, visual, or auditory. It will help a teacher keep up the attention and interest of students.
- Teachers can review the material from previous lessons. It is crucial in block teaching because students don’t meet the teacher every day.
Remember, teachers don’t have to be instructive during the entire class. They must give students independent work or do tasks in groups. It would hold the block schedules together without exhausting the teacher. Most importantly, schools have to keep a close eye on test scores and discipline to see if this learning style is effective.
Block teaching has received a lot of recognition from educators. Many people think of it as a view of the future of higher education because of its intuitive learning model. Students have the flexibility to spend more time on every subject and indulge in engaging activities. Likewise, block schedules allow teachers to discuss the subject matter in detail with real-world examples. Every educational institute should explore block teaching and see if it fits their learning environment.