Bruin Block detracts from learning environment


Art by Jake Alden

Manal Salim

Art by Ian Gibbs and Jake Alden
Art by Ian Gibbs and Jake Alden

Thirty-one minutes, every single day, will be devoted to supporting students in their time at RBHS, according to the suggestion for Bruin Block class periods. The idea sounds appealing enough, but the needless value can be discovered behind its thin veil of charm. Below the vague, general purpose Bruin Block presents, one may discover a shortening of valuable class time, overlapping repetition with the Academic Advisory period and an unnecessary use of time for students at RBHS.

 According to the Bruin Block proposal, class times will be changed to 86 minute blocks rather than 90 minutes, with 6 minute passing periods to allow room for the 31 minute Bruin Block every day. However, the proposal also offers an Academic Advisory, similar to the current Advisory, which would take 86 minutes every other day for freshman and sophomore students to focus on their studies. Both classes overlap significantly, in that they both provide students access to their teachers and guidance counselors. The Bruin Block proposal states that it “allows for true implementation across all four years of meaningful self/college/career exploration.”

 Though the purpose of Bruin Block provides increased academic focus and it allows students to establish better connections with their advisors, the time to do so does not need to take up such an excessive amount of time. Virtually the same ideas and topics are being stretched out over two classes, one of which meets every single day. The Bruin Block addition is an extra, unwarranted period of time that hopes to provide to students what Advisory has already effectively done in the past, and in fact can do in the future since the proposal is not choosing to get rid of Advisory. Though the intentions are good, the class seems a bit excessive, and one form of the block would suffice.
And rather than providing more time to engage in learning and in core classes themselves, Bruin Block detracts time away from schoolwork and the class curriculum. Though it seems like only four minutes every day, the time adds up, especially when referring to AP courses. In the summary of the Bruin Block feedback information, there is a concern referenced by the staff at RBHS that in  shortening class periods, teachers would lose a total of 9 instructional days from what is currently available. This notion presents a massive concern, especially for AP classes in particular, in which AP teachers have a set deadline for the test, and not a lot of wiggle room to cram all the information necessary for students to succeed on their AP exams.
Therefore, despite the fact that Bruin Block aims to provide an academic enrichment for students, the goal is looking to be achieved from the wrong perspective completely. Rather than allowing more time for students to be absorbing knowledge in their classrooms, Bruin Block presents a much less valuable alternative that greatly overlaps with the existing Advisory period.
In addition, the Bruin Block topics that will be presented to students to assist them in their studies is a largely open-ended discussion that is not exactly set in stone. Whether or not teachers will have to come up with the curriculum or not isn’t for certain, according the Bruin Block proposal outline. Therefore, the main part of the Bruin Block is still up in the air, and no one is aware of whether or not the topics discussed during the class will actually be effective. It is not clear whether this time will actually be utilized for structured enrichment or another pastime. With Bruin Block, there is no true plan in place that satisfies the question that every day, is there really enough to keep kids busy?
Accordingly, there is no real evidence that such a proposal, in its repetitive nature, detraction of classes, and unnecessary use of time will provide any benefit to students. On the contrary, Bruin Block and its undefined explanation are not beneficial to RBHS and create a source of distraction, and thus should not be implemented.
By Manal Salim