Archive for the ‘Scheduling’ Category

MANDATORY study hall

March 21, 2009 | Administration, Scheduling | RSS 2.0

My first semester at the Defense Langauge Institute we were “drinking from a fire hose” – 8 hours a day we heard, spoke, and read our target language (French in my case).  I had an advantage – I took French from eigth to tenth grade, so for me DLI’s first semester was like a refresher course (plus learning how to say things like “aircraft carrier” and “infantry” – didn’t learn that in high school).  I can’t imagine what it was like for the people learning Farsi, Chinese, Arabic, etc.

In order to ensure success, our instructors placed us on mandatory study hall for the first eight weeks.  Each Tuesday and Thursday we spent two hours under the guidance of one of our instructors getting extra practice and working on assignments.  After eight weeks, if our grades were high enough, we could get do the normal student thing and just do our homework in the dorm….er, barracks.

My school has something similar, but it needs tweaking.  We currently restrict any student failing two or more courses from particiapting in extra-curricular activities.  That’s all well and good, but I think it’s time to move the remedial period from the end of the day to a time when the students are required to be in the building.  Students who are passing all their courses could still use that time for their club meetings, but our at-risk kids would need to spend the time catching up on work, studying, getting extra practice, and whatever else will get them above the 65% mark.

Many of the kids who are failing are in a downward spiral.  Perhaps its time for a drastic change to help get them flying level again.

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