Departmentalized Scheduling: Everything You Need to Know

This involves teachers who only teach a single subject to several classes. This classroom organization is generally found in junior, middle, or high school settings. It might also be found at the elementary level in science, mathematics, art, music, and physical education classes. Departmentalized scheduling has both advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages include:

·         Departmentalized scheduling gives students multiple teachers they can approach to get support in academics. Sometimes many students don’t click with one teacher but they’ll with another one.

·         While consistency is very important for young students, they’re better able to adapt to change as they get older. Departmentalizing with a team of two or three teachers in elementary school prepares students for the future and eases the transition later on.

·         Teachers can delve deeper into the standards and create a teaching specialty by focusing on one subject area.

·         As teachers need to spend less time on lesson planning, they get more time to develop new lesson activities for students. They can also work together to develop cross-curricular lessons that help meet standards for different subjects.

·         Transitions make great brain breaks, and students truly need a little downtime between lessons. The transition from one teacher or class to another provides a break and an excellent visual for the mental switch.

·         Departmentalized scheduling allows multiple teachers to get first-hand insights into problems a student might be having. Teachers can work together to help resolve learning struggles or behavior issues. They can also collaborate on what’s working well in a class to help the students in other areas.

The disadvantages include:

·         Many teachers feel that with departmentalized scheduling, they lose time and activities that help to develop relationships with students.

·         Students may lose routine and consistency that they thrive on by changing teachers multiple times throughout the day. They tend to struggle more than in a self-contained classroom due to the differences amongst teachers, classroom environments, and expectations.

·         By only focusing on one subject area, the teacher may become out of touch with other areas’ best practices and standards.

·         Transitioning from one class to another wastes a significant amount of time, no matter how well-prepared the students are.

·         Teachers may lose flexibility when they need to stay on a particular schedule. In a self-contained class, if teachers finish early, they can move on, or if a lesson runs a little over, they can adjust the activities or schedule.

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