Most classes at AISB are now a staggering 85 minutes instead of the previous 55; and although it’s been more than a month, students still haven’t quite gotten used to the changes.
What are the reasons for this change?
Secondary Vice Principal Fiona Moss, who was part of the team that designed this new schedule, says the main reasons for implementing changes are: to maximize learning time, to give variety to the daily classes, to be able to accommodate more students, and to preserve class time in case of missed school days.
Who made these decisions?
The changes to the schedule were made by the leadership team, which included many of the department heads. This update of the school schedule has been in the works for a couple years, and according to Moss, “This year was just a good time to implement it.”
This schedule is not new to some of the administrators. In fact, Moss says that she, being a long time international educator, has had this type of schedule at several schools and recognizes the benefits–particularly that the longer class times helps students to better understand lessons.
How will this affect classes?
This new schedule has had a very distinct effect on the atmosphere of classes, as teachers now have to plan their lessons in a way that makes sure students stay engaged for longer periods of time.
According to a study conducted by Maryellen Weimer (PhD), the average student cannot pay attention continuously for 10 minutes during a lecture. Students even reported having lapses in attention just 30 seconds after class began. This makes 85-minute blocks difficult not only for students, but for the teachers planning the lessons.
“In order to really engage students during these long blocks, we have to make sure we’re differentiating our teaching practices,” says AISB Journalism Teacher, Jennifer Stevens. “In the last few years, I’ve seen a big difference in the time it takes for students to lose interest in what I’m saying, or presenting. I’ve had to change everything to being more project-based.”
AISB English Teacher, Ian Edwards, agrees, and adds that for him to be able to give instruction and provide the students enough time to work and apply the material, 80 minutes is ideal. “I think that for classes like Science and PE, 65 minutes is often too short for what you want to accomplish. However, I also understand some teachers and students who say that, no matter what you’re doing, longer than 65 minutes is tough for anyone to stay engaged.”
What areas of the school has this change affected?
A significant area of the school that this new schedule has affected is none other than the cafeteria. With all the grades having lunch at the same time, the time it takes to get lunch has gone from roughly 10 minutes to 15 minutes, according to Moss.
Moss ensures us, however, that the leadership team is trying to implement strategies that will help, and that the community needs to consider the fact that lunch has been lengthened, and as such people should not hurry to get lunch and should instead take their time getting to the cafeteria. In addition, the juniors and seniors got a new cafe this year, and a new kitchen will soon be constructed in the design area.
So, what’s next?
Well, the schedule is still new, and Moss is looking for feedback on how to improve. Do you have any ideas? Make sure to comment below to start an online conversation!
*Featured image: Stock; Pixabay.