The trimester program has normally been implemented to help students learn in a much faster way in consideration with the time and the finances that would be involved within the studying periods that the learning process in trimester universities offer. For several years now, the industrialized and top progressed countries around the world have effectively adapted to this particular way of learning. In fact, many among the students within the said countries are able to apply their learned skills abruptly after attending school.
However, there are also some risks that the education regulators face in implementing this particular time-controlling procedure of learning among students. Of course, as said earlier, in terms of time and finances, trimester certainly gains advantage, however, the questions are, are the students learning the important points of the courses that they enroll into in such a short span of time? Are the teachers able to impart to their students the most important part of the lessons that they teach? Could it be that the students need more time to learn their professions for application later on? What are the results of the said learning system in the working industry and how does it affect the performance of the national economy? These questions primarily raised the possibilities of some universities’ aiming to switch their academic calendar to semester programs.
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Considering the facts mentioned above, it should then be clear that there are necessary elements that contribute to student learning procedures that need attention in pursuing the switching of academic calendars from trimester to semester program offerings of certain universities. To be able to come up with a considerably amiable plan in dealing with the situation raised herein, it is necessary to consider some certain discussions that would be presented within the paragraphs that follow.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Trimester program
The trimester program, as mentioned earlier has primarily been designed in assisting students who are preempted to be fast learners to attain a degree in college in a much faster procedure, reducing the time and the finances that they are to use to be able to finish their studies. To expand this particular part of the discussion, the finances shall be broken down to categories that would actually show the large amount of money saved by students and their parent under a trimester program:
A) Boarding and Miscellaneous Expenses
Since each trimester is reduced to three months, the expenses that the students would be paying for their dormitories or boarding houses would be reduced as well. Aside from this, the miscellaneous fees and expenses that the students spend while staying within the university would also be reduced in large amount.
B) Tuition Fee Payments
Since through the trimester program, the years spent with the school days are reduced the payment for the tuition fees are then paid fast thus reducing the worries of the parents for paying long term tuition fee rates.
When it comes to studying as it is, this type of academic calendar hosts mostly academic activities and lesser extra curricular activities to help the students focus on their subjects. Most likely, students of this type of program are expected to love the pressure that they are facing in school. The consuming of time at the best possible way is what is implemented in the universities that adapt to this type of educational process.
On the other hand, teachers who are under this particular system also feel the pressure of stretching the time that has been given to them to discuss their lessons with their students. Most likely, what the teachers do is to give handouts to their students, stack them up with homework and do minimal discussions in class. Preempting that their students would do well in studying by themselves and bringing out the main idea of the lessons in the classrooms, the educators settle for simple classroom recitations to base their evaluations of the student’s capabilities of learning as well as the effectiveness of their teaching procedures.
Most likely, the teachers are forced to concise their lessons into the most basic interpretations that they could make to help their students understand. In this case, they are not able to flavor up the discussion to help the students not only understand but better apply the lessons that they learn from school. By this fact, it could be noted that the teachers are limited in pursuing their passion for teaching as they are held tight by schedule of compliance to the deadlines that they are accustomed to meet.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Semester Program
Semester programs are divided in four months per academic calendar. The four months are usually aided with several extra curricular activities that are aimed to help the students loosen up form the pressures that they receive from completing their projects in school. The extra curricular activities are also aimed in finding other potentials of the students in performing their best possible abilities for the sake of the goodness of their personality development.
The educators in this type of learning are actually involved in a more controllable time in their own discretion. They have more time to spend with their students in helping them cope up with the subjects especially if they are having a hard time understanding the lessons on their own. It is through this procedure of learning and teaching that the educators are able to give ample time to individual students in treating their difficulties in certain subjects. This is most especially effective in dealing with students who have a different language that the actual language being used as a medium of communication in the university.
As for example, the American society holds at least 48% of its university population devoted to assisting minorities in their learning. Primarily, the students that they deal with have different languages of origin. Hence, learning using the English language as a medium may not be that easy for them to face as a challenge to their abilities of comprehending to the lessons presented to them. This does not mean that they are less intelligent than that of the English natives. However, because of the fact that they have lesser training in using the English language, they are less able to understand the gist of the lessons that are presented to them in the universities.
In this setting, the educators are able to give assistance to their students at the best possible way they could as they try different alternatives to help minorities understand their lessons better. The extra time that they could use to assist students certainly allows the teachers the chance to bring the best out of their learners.
Although when it comes to learning procedures, the semester program of learning is amiably considerably advantageous for the learning progress of the students, the said system of academic character adaptation is much disadvantageous when it comes to the financing of the expenses that are presumably to become a must in the lives of the students while they are staying in school. The tuition fee payments are also at some point easier to deal with in terms of the length of time allotted for them to prepare for the amount needed to be paid.
What the Switching of Academic Calendar Could Do
Knowing the advantages and the disadvantages of both academic calendar adaptations, it could be observed that both of them have their own leverage against the other. When it comes to the trimestral program the time and finances are given higher concern while the semestral programs on the other hand give much focus on the learning progress of the students. If the aim of education is to be considered closely, it could be seen that the main mission of educating students is to help them understand the lessons in the best way that they could in order for them to have a better application of the ideas in the actual practice in their employments later on. In this regard, the semestral program implication appears to be much practical. Hence, the pursuance of switching of the trimester program to the semester program is given closer concern and focus by some educational administrators.
(a) In terms of Budget and Financial Issues
From a trimestral setting, the parents and the students themselves would have a better control of their budget since the length of time given for them to complete the payment responsibilities that they have to the universities. Although in terms of boarding expenses the payment may not be that low, the adjustment of the activities that the students engage with may do the trick of reducing and balancing both time and budget that are allotted for the time of learning that they are supposed to complete.
(b) Teacher or Educator Adjustments
Trimestral teachers are to be given a lengthened chance of reevaluating their teaching lesson plans thus be able to recreate their system in assisting the students individually in their studies. They could then a lot more time in discussing their lessons in class rather than just sending the works to their students for home completion. Recitation activities are still applicable however; the time could be extended as length of days that certain activities and lessons are to be hosted by the educators to help their students comprehend with the gist ideas of the lessons.
(c) Student Learning Capabilities and Pressures
The time that is given for students to have ample chance of learning their lessons could actually be turned into a more productive time that would assist the students develop several other skills that they could apply in their jobs later on. Most likely, this situation helps them asses themselves as to how much pressure they are able to tolerate and still perform at their best.
For those students who belong with the minority of the population could then be assisted in understanding their lessons better through continuous practice of the usage of the language. The lack of too much pressure in accepting all the necessary lessons could be noted as a way by which the students are given leeway in practicing the knowledge that they are able to gain form the universities.
From this discussion, it could be noted that trimester and semester programs are able to get the best out the students in several ways of consideration. Trimestral program adaptation could be applied in universities that are giving educational assistance to the above average intellect students. This is primary because of the fact that the pressures of learning in this particular procedure of academic calendar setting could cause the minorities a hardship in comprehending with the major points of the lessons that they are supposed to be learning from their educators. In applying the semester program, the educators are able to give attention to each individual student’s progress in learning their lessons. The time that they could spend in the learning processes would indeed allow them to find the best ways by which they could apply their lessons in actual procedures of practice in the future.
Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. (2000). WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC CALENDAR Semesters vs. Quarters. http://www.hecb.wa.gov/Docs/reports/WSUcalendar12-2000.pdf. (June 2, 2007).
U.S. Office of Education Circular No. 248, November 15, 1948.
DH News Service, Bangalore. (2007). No word yet on timing, semester system. CITY SCHOOLS REOPEN, TEACHERS IN DARK OVER GOVT PROPOSALS. http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/May292007/national200705294376.asp?section=frontpagenews. (June 2, 2007).