Block Scheduling; Discipline; Educational Change; Educational Innovation; Flexible Scheduling; Instructional Innovation; School Schedules; Secondary Education
This paper examines how block scheduling affects teachers' perceptions of school climate. It is based on information taken from 21 high schools in a southern state that used 4X4 block scheduling. Data were collected through interviews, a survey instrument that measured teacher perceptions of climate, and focus groups. Based on results from the climate instrument, 2 schools with at least 3 years experience with block scheduling were identified as outliers: 1 positive, 1 negative. Both were comprehensive, public high schools that enrolled students in grades 9-12. Findings include descriptions of the school context, administrative structure, student discipline, faculty collegiality, obstacles to teaching, staff development, and block scheduling. Teachers at both schools commented on improved discipline and academic performance, though teachers at the negative outlying school believed that the administrators' laissez faire style and inconsistency in handling discipline undermined disciplinary efforts. In the positive school, visionary leadership, professional activities in a departmental structure that encouraged collegiality, and a commitment to uninterrupted instructional time contributed to high teacher satisfaction. An inequity in funding was seen as one contributing factor to the different experiences between the two schools. Three tables contain information on demographics, achievement and student participation, and dimensions of contrast between the two schools. (Contains 22 references.) (RJM)
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