There is also the negative effects that timetables can have on the teachers. For example, in this paper Living by the clock: the tyranny of the secondary school timetable, Kathy Brady quotes:
I wonder if some of the notions about organisation and standardised assessment tend to go hand-in-hand with timetables?
From a personal point of view, I know that when I am learning something it can take ages to get my head down and 'into it', and sometimes it's really frustrating to have the flow broken. And when you get back, sometimes those good ideas will have dissipated...along with some of the motivation to continue.
I would say, though, that in my experiences with working with students, there needs to be quite a lot of initial support and guidance up front with a less formal, time-tabled structure...and skills to be taken on board such as time-management, digital literacy, research skills, self-reflection etc. (see, for example, Meeting diverse learner needs through blended learning). A continuum where you move from a relatively teacher-led approach at the beginning of a year, to a student-led/directed one by the end of the year seems to be fairly effective, and helps ensure that differentiation can be built into a programme...especially if a blended approach is used. What are your thoughts? Are you tyrannised by a timetable? Or do you and your learners have heaps of freedom?
Image: 'Alternative Pedagogies, hosted by Barry Joe &+Jill+Grose' http://www.flickr.com/photos/59217476@N00/7093752299. Found on flickrcc.net