Student in a library taking a picture

5 Reasons Your School Should Have a Flex Block

Monday, August 22, 2016

A flex block is a flexible time period set aside in the school day that gives students time for extra help or enrichment opportunities. In addition to helping students catch up or meet competencies, it allows them to pursue topics and activities that interest them. Why should your school consider adding a flex block to its schedule?

There are so many reasons! But in this post we’ll look at 5 reasons a flex block can have academic benefits for staff and students.

1. Extra help.

For students with increasingly busy schedules, getting time for the help they need can be frustrating – for them, and their teachers. When the school day is packed with classes, after school activities, maybe even an after-school job, there is little time to get the help they need for a particular class, in or out of school. A flex block gives students the time they need to receive the help they need, from the teacher they need it. And it's not an extra class, it's not an extracurricular activity. It's built in to the school day.

 2. Student-centered curriculum.

Adding a flex block will help put students at the center of their own learning in your school. That sound like a tall order. So, how? In this block of time, students can be empowered to make decisions about how they're going to use their time. It could be about getting the help they need in the classes they need it, or pursuing something that interests them. And this will be a daily, fundamental part of your school schedule, your school curriculm. Every day, students will have more control, and a say in how they’re using their time. And student choice results in students that are more enthusiatic about learning.

3. Class extensions.

If you’re an educator, have there ever been topics you wanted to explore in class, but didn’t have time for? In some schools, teachers have used their flex block as an extension of class time, digging even deeper into a topic that students were interested in, or perhaps getting students involved in discussions about current events. Some schools have even used these class extensions as ways for students to get an honors credit when they participate; they’re not teaching a separate class, but they’re simply using this flex block as an extension of class time for deeper learning.

4. Career opportunities.

Do you remember being in middle school or high school – maybe even in your senior year – and still not really knowing what you wanted to do with your life? Maybe part of the reason was that you just hadn’t been exposed to different careers, or you weren’t sure how you could succeed doing something you were already good at and enjoyed.  Some schools have used their flex period to host a ‘career speaker.’ Interested students can sign up and listen to a professional in their field talking about what they do. For example, a musician or an artist might come in and explain how they make a living doing what they love.

5. Life skills.

By incorporating a flex block, you will be teaching students skills that will continue to benefit them. When students learn how to organize and manage their time between their work and interests, they’re learning life skills. Knowing how to balance and organize your time is one of the keys to being a successful person. Teaching them how to do that while they’re in school, while giving them an enriching experience, will benefit them far into adulthood.