Students Are Evolving. Schools Should Be Too.


The Importance of Student Choice Across All Grade Levels

The current schooling model is outdated and doesn’t fit the needs of students today. With the recent improvements in technology and the dwindling attention span of students, the old system just simply won’t continue to work. Students have to take almost the exact same classes with small variations from year to year with electives, but other than that, students are being forced to take classes that won’t help them and the way school is scheduled does not allow for students to maximize their growth and aid their mental health.

There is a severe lack of student choice in school, and with today’s students, choice is needed more than ever. More career paths are opening up for students, but the coursework in our school isn’t in support of this. 

Instead of allowing students to choose the courses they want, most students have to follow a strict rule that makes them take specific classes with little choice for electives. If students were allowed to choose what specific classes they wanted to take, they could learn everything they need to know to pursue their career path, but even if they don’t know their career path, their courses should allow them to figure out what they want to do after high school. 

Scheduling changes could be introduced within schools to allow students to have more choices in their lives during the school year. One example could be utilizing block scheduling for the school year. One variation of block scheduling that could be used would be considered a 4×4. This is where four classes are had per semester rather than all of your classes throughout the entirety of the school year. 

Academically it has been seen that there is no overall benefit to either of the two scheduling versions making people smarter but it does allow for more flexibility. A study done in 2013 comparing the traditional period and semester blocking had not much of an effect overall in the class, stating that there was “no significant difference between semester block and traditional period and the effects each schedule format had on student achievement in Algebra I”. 

A possible benefit of such would be if a student were to fail their English class in the first semester they could end up retaking that class within the next semester and they would not be off track from graduating. That is not to say you should fail all of your courses now that you have a second chance but it is nice that the second chance is always there for one to be able to keep up and is less of a mental burden to the student. 

On the contrary, we could just stick to the same scheduling we have been using at our school since there is no significant enough difference at the academic level. Perhaps making changes could cause confusion overall. In addition, there could be concerns with AP classes if the school was to go down the path of 4×4 block scheduling in the cases of them being done within the first semester meaning the student could forget a lot of material by the end of the year and by then they could be taking the AP exam for that class, but overall, it could be nice and more flexible for the student body to have more freedom within their schedules using a 4×4 block schedule rather than the versions we put to use at the moment.

Another example could be a play on what our school did every week on Wednesdays during the covid lockdown year with an asynchronous day. This allows students to recollect their thoughts, study, rest, and log back into their classes the next day ready to learn. The only difference is that students will physically be going to school. 

To even further that, the school year should also be dramatically shortened. Expecting students to be at school every day from August to June isn’t viable and rings the students dry by the end of the school year. 

Students are in need of change more than ever and schools aren’t supplying that change. The continuous growth of students is something that is hard to keep up with but an effort shown by our school is what we need to improve the well-being of students and help them in the future.