Bruin Block needs modification


Abby Kempf

[heading size=”20″ margin=”0″]Common interest groups could boost engagement[/heading] Walking through the hallways of RBHS, it would be hard not to run into a group of students gossiping about how much they hate their Bruin Block class. Admittedly, I also have hard feelings when it comes to Bruin Block. I am in a class full of people who are frankly nothing like me and are not my friends. They are not bad people. We just have very different mindsets.
Also, the goals of the class do not pertain to me in the slightest. I am a prepared student who does not need any help in setting goals for my school career or in maintaining my grades, which are some of the disjointed and clunky goals of Bruin Block.
But just because Bruin Block is a source of anger right now doesn’t mean that it couldn’t work if structured differently. The concept of Bruin Block is not a complete dud. It has simply been executed before it was fully baked.
To begin, the method of sorting students into Bruin Block must change. Much like the sorting hat in the Harry Potter series, the University of Missouri implements a program called FIGS, which stands for Freshmen Interest Groups. Students enrolled in the program are placed in residential halls with students who have the same majors and areas of study. They are then placed in the same core classes and have similar schedules so they have the opportunity to bond with like-minded students.
If students at RBHS were sorted into a Bruin Block based on classes they enrolled in or maybe a career quiz that expressed interest in certain careers, students would be able to learn from similar students that share similar goals. Students are happiest when in environments in which they feel comfortable and accepted.
Recently, under the current setup of Bruin Block, each student has been placed in a group with two of their peers. Our group is now expected to conference with our teacher and discuss our goals and where we feel we need to grow as individuals. I have never said a word to either of the students that are in my group, and now we are supposed to open up to each other about our personal topics.
I don’t know what could be more excruciatingly uncomfortable than talking with two boys that I do not have a any sort of personal relationship with, about the area where I feel like I am lacking. But in a group of my friends, I would willingly discuss things like this and feel supported by those who surrounded me, instead of feeling awkward and embarrassed.
Secondly, the curriculum in Bruin Block needs to change and become pertinent to our individual lives, something the sorting process would allow.
Students who are in a Bruin Block full of future doctors could have a curriculum based upon studying for the ACT and SAT so they are accepted into their desired colleges and learning about different medical professions so they could discover what type of physician they wish to be. The teacher of their Bruin Block could be a science teacher who could insure the students excel in their science classes.
If more students presented constructive ideas for the future betterment of Bruin Block instead of simply complaining, enriching and positive change could actually occur. As my former EEE teacher Matt Leuchtmann always says: “People are really good at finding problems, but not so good at coming up with solutions to these problems.”
I see the issues with Bruin Block, but I also see solutions. If the student body would stop complaining and being totally uncooperative in their Bruin Block classes and instead decide to suggest modifications through student voice groups, such as Student Coalition, Bruin Block might not be the worst part of the school day.
By Abby Kempf