Professional woman in glasses points to two computer screens depicting a calendar and schedule.

Foster Relationships and Cooperative Learning: Adopt Block Scheduling At Your School

While many schools have experimented with . . . daily schedules, the vast majority of U.S. schools still have traditional schedules . . . that often can’t meet the individual needs of students and teachers. This is especially ironic given the profound shifts in how most Americans now structure their personal and professional time, which is more flexible, more fluid, and more personalized than ever before.

– Unlocking Time


In terms of teacher-to-student relationships, block schedules can afford smaller loads.

  • For example, a trimester schedule has teachers teaching 4 classes with a total student load of approximately 120 students. Compare that to a traditional two by seven semester schedule where teachers often teach 6 classes with a total student load of approximately 180 students.
  • In a traditional two by seven semester schedule, teachers often have 1.8 minutes per student per class period.  In a 4×4 block, teachers have approximately 3 minutes per student per class.
  • Block schedules offer larger chunks of time per class than the traditional two-by-seven schedule

Block schedules better support instructional practices that engage students with each other through project-based learning, cooperative learning practices, and other sustained group work.

  • Students are more likely to be working together collaboratively on complex tasks in block schedules.
  • When it comes to relationship building, relationships are best supported in some form of block schedule, assuming the practices teachers/staff engage are focused on relational strategies.  

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