Day 94 (of 186) 1/2 way there…..some thoughts on school calendar
We have just passed the approximate half-way point of the school year. It made me think of the learning calendar – specifically pondering if our current agrarian focused school year still makes sense….it keeps me coming back to a couple things:
- School year vs calendar year
- Year round schooling
- True year round schooling
- Shorter weeks…..
- the disruption…..
I appreciated some learning when a teacher I know when to Australia on a teacher exchange and learned their school year runs with the calendar…and I kind of like it – especially as how it fits in with when students start learning. And of course a secret bias towards the Nordic approach to start schooling at age 7 (and hearing a child care argument start to be raised…. is it schooling about taking care of children while parents work…..neither right nor wrong, but…..)
So if the calendar is the segregation tool that we use for schooling….there will be issues – even know of a few “tweaks” to birth certificates in much the same way that sometimes Home addresses are “adjusted” to get into a specific catchment area….
Can we change our approach to group students by learning style? Hard…can lead to arguments to have students with specific teacher – but who determines “best fit”?
Breaks are tough. And for some learners, it doesn’t matter if it’s 2 weeks or a “long weekend” – the transition back to learning can be a challenge. Routine is good – so when things mess up the routine, sometimes the “first day back” is challenging – and makes me wonder if the extra day to sleep in is worth it. If breaks were predictable and part of an overall pattern, it would be easier to work with and easier to explain rather than “Its a holiday….or a pro-d day”….
Year round schooling – when many talk about it, it is based on 3 months on and one month off. And I freely admit that this calendar is very tempting….but I like it with a twist….that may be part of a “3 on one off” schedule for the teachers, but for the kids….why not year round learning….
—> enabling a way for some kids to be away at sensitive times (hunting season in some areas) and in-school for longer periods….also enabling possibly more school services to reach more students.
Complex – absolutely – but an approach that can help enable more of a spiralling of learning (classrooms focused as learning families with kids of various ages) enabling students to progress when they are ready….not because their birth year says something.
A union nightmare? – possibly….especially as I like the idea of schools being 7days/week learning spaces as well….blending virtual with physical attendance.
And then to contradict myself, I sometimes wonder about 4 day weeks of learning. Longer days, but having “a day” that can be used by families for medical appointments or travel (and this may be more of a rural-school conundrum) Saving that “off day” for focused sports practices….or games….performances…community events….sure there are some connections for childcare that need to be done, but as more and more jobs are becoming more about “flex”….how can schools help support and model this mindset?
My wondering also often has me wondering about disruptions to the education sector if we don’t keep our eyes open. There is being a lot of work being done around important strategies such as #makerspaces and #geniushour, and gamification and badges to show mastery, but is it enough? Can an “x block” mindset help students find ways to connect with their learning (as I describe it – sometimes the ability to write is not at the same time that ‘writing’ occurs on the day plan or block rotation…..)
If our brick and mortar buildings don’t ebb and flow to better connect with the actual world (which is less and less 9 to 5 monday to friday), will families and learners start seeking out “alternate sites”? And will a “big business” look at this sector as a way to provide schooling credentials…..it wouldn’t be too difficult to set up a series of apps within a bigger cloud-infrastructure….maybe I did too much thinking about this while finishing Ready Player One…..!
But really….is an agrarian school calendar schedule still the most efficient? That’s what I like to wonder about!