Year-Round Schools: A Debate
There have been a number of researchers who are interested in knowing and understanding the factors that affect children’s learning and development. Year-round Schooling is the idea that developed to ensure that students do not waste time and utilize their potentials of learning and gaining knowledge throughout the year without any long gaps. The year-round schooling distributes the long vacations like summer vacations in regular intervals throughout the year. This is one of the major differences in year-round schooling and traditional calendar schooling. However, the debate should be about the fact that year-round school normally proposes the same amount of time to students in the educational institution like traditional schooling systems. The only difference as per the timings and extent of learning is that the year-round schools do not give a long time for vacations which may distract children’s attention from studies. The traditional nine months schooling system provided an extended vacations of 3 months to the students, whereas, year-round school provides a number of short vacations to the students. There are certain positive and negative issues related to this relatively new approach. This paper starts up a debate on year-round schooling and analyzes the pros and cons related to year round schooling.
There is a debate over encouraging the best possible way to promote a structural learning environment for the children. Children need a properly structured and well-organized system of learning. The longer breaks and cut-off from the educational environment affect the stability of students’ learning habits. An article on ‘Education Bug’ supports this claim by asserting that year-round school eliminates the threats of learning gap and loss of learning by eliminated longer time periods off the school.
The year-round schools design the vacation structure in such a way that different student groups are off-campus at different timings. This, firstly, ensures that all students are not on vacations at the same time providing more space to the teachers to concentrate on the remaining population of students on campus. Secondly it reduces the class size and children’s regular regiment remains unchanged.
Satisfaction of Needs
The most efficient use of the school system is the one which provides greater satisfaction to the parents and students in terms of learning. The obvious reason for joining educational institutes is to promote active learning and keeping that learning pace steady and organized. The year-round schooling system is an obvious attempt to keep the learning environment steady and effective for students. The important fact to notice is that it enhances students’ lives by providing regular intervals in their busy school schedule. Johnson (2010) asserts that an estimation of 10% of the total admissions in America will be directed towards year-round schooling by 2012.
Year-round schooling provides a balanced schedule and it is expected that Naylor (1995) provides a balanced view on year-round schooling. In doing so a number of studies are amalgamated which provide views for and against this approach of schooling. National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE), according to Naylor, gives a positive opinion on the improved performance of students. The main proposition remains the same that year-round education provides more chances to the students to stay connected to the educational environment. Their attention is not distracted and hence they are able to stay in touch with the learning environment. This uninterrupted link between students and the learning environment supports their performance and helps them in attaining good results.
The discussion above provides a brief overview of the benefits associated with year-round education system. To understand things better, there is a need to weigh between the pros and cons related to this schooling system.
Introducing year-round schooling is not as simple as it seems to be. This system brings in a number of conflicts between students, faculty staff, management, parents and other related parties. The main concern for the management or administration is the cost related to designing, implementing and maintaining this system of schooling. The planning of year-end schooling (especially multi-track year-round schools) provide an additional cost of managing students ion equal groups and maintaining equal gaps between their vacations. The increased costs are related to this planning and an additional cost to answer the requirements of the faculty to be present in the school at all times in the year. This requires careful planning and scheduling techniques from professionals to avoid any conflicts or problems.
Scheduling conflicts are also found to be relevant in this schooling system. The schedules prepared by professional or administration may not be suitable for the staff or students. The schedules may be questioned or called for change which would produce an additional burden of work, require more time for amendments and more finances if the professional or employee refuses to make changes. Alternatively, staff or students’ dissatisfaction will arise which may affect the whole learning environment and performance of the students.
Summer employment acts as another challenge for the school management and system. Most of the people and staff consider summer as their vacation period and may want to take off from the school. However, this does not act as a major threat to the success of year-round schools today as college students, teachers and trainees tend to work in the summer to make efficient savings and gaining experience.
The community programs which are developed to entertain and engage students during their vacations face the biggest threat by this new approach to schooling system. The awareness campaigns, amusement programs, sporting events and others which grabbed students’ and younger generations’ attention during summer vacations face a threat.
The major point of concern for families is the loss of their family vacation time which used to provide them space to spend time with each other. The busy schedule of children does not let the family enjoy or spend vacations together. The different vacation timings and relatively shorter vacations disable the options of going on longer trips. This new approach to schooling is, hence, not welcomed by families.
Despite of the disadvantages or challenges that year-round schools bring the reasons behind its use and increasing fame is the number of benefits it brings. These benefits include avoiding overcrowded class structures and school environment, reduced stress, reduction in class size and continuous interaction with school and learning environment.
One of the best benefits that year-round schooling brings include the less crowded space in the school for the children as the groups are sent on vacations separately (in multi-track year-round schools). The less crowded classrooms and school provide ease of managing the students and giving proper attention to the individuals. The regular breaks provide a less troublesome and stressful schedule to the students. The students get intervals regularly which free them from stressful and strict schedule of the school. The continuity of interaction and association with school, the learning environment and teachers, help in stabilizing the attitudes of children towards education. This helps in maintaining their performance and activities by keeping them restricted to the schedule of the school and learning habits (Education Bug).
In the end, I would like to suggest that although there are certain inappropriate effects which may stand against the year-round school system, it still has a positive side which is stronger and non ignorable. So I urge you all to be advocates for year around schooling. If students had structure than perhaps their performance would have been better than what they have now. I personally believe that students might have a more positive impact on their development and psychological well being than on their academic performance.
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- Education Bug. (n.d.). Year round school debate. Retrieved from http://www.educationbug.org/a/year-round-school-debate.html
- Naylor, Charlie. BCTF Research and Technology Division, (1995). Do year-round schools improve student learning? (BCTF Research Report section XII, 95-EI-03). Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://bctf.ca/publications/ResearchReports.aspx?id=5608
- Johnson, Alex. (2010, oct 27). Year-round school gains ground around u.s.. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39748458/ns/us_news-life/
- Family education. (n.d.). Year-round school. Retrieved from http://school.familyeducation.com/experimental-education/educational-research/41266.html