Many people feel that education hasn’t changed for decades and that most schools follow a teacher-led method, a model designed for the teacher to be the centre of attention and to deliver a lesson or lecture to the students; very ‘old school’ to say the least. However, there are many new trends in education that schools are employing to ensure that education is, in fact, keeping up with the times and evolving, just like other industries.
Keeping an eye on educational trends is critical to staying ahead of the game and ESCA is always at the forefront of ensuring that our students are receiving the most up to date education, based on educational research and current events.
Here are some of the most current educational trends being implemented around the world today:
1. Mastery-Based Grading
Many teachers are looking for alternatives to grading. Some worry that traditional grading methods do not accurately measure student progress. It’s the age old ‘testing a fish on how well they climb a tree’ won’t accurately measure what each student is actually good at.
Mastery-based grading measures how well students have developed the skills they learned in class and allows opportunities for resubmission. Ultimately, students are graded as either having mastered or not mastered a concept rather than on an A to F scale. In this way, students can continue to practise skills they haven’t yet mastered and avoid becoming discouraged.
2. Personalised Learning
Over the past few years, the buzz around personalised learning has been on the rise. Why is this so important? When a school curriculum is adaptive to a student’s unique needs, it’s more likely to promote student progress because each child can move at their own pace. In ESCA’s sporting and cultural space, this is an essential component of our offering.
3. Genius Hour
Genius Hour is a fairly new educational technique that allows students to work on self-paced and self-chosen projects for an hour each day. It is a well known fact that people are good at what they enjoy. This encourages students to practise their creativity and independent thinking skills and to also develop a genuine love of learning - an alternative to the traditional Life Skills programmes of the past.
4. Digital Citizenship
For students, digital citizenship is defined as the ability to use technology and the Internet both effectively and appropriately. Good digital citizenship is increasingly necessary and is a part of the Google domain at ESCA, particularly since the pandemic.
5. Bite-Sized Learning
Bite-sized learning teaches children specific academic skills with brief, focused activities. It takes into account the contemporary demands of learner lifestyles that might hinder longer periods of focused study and time spent in the classroom. In other words, it allows students to learn real skills that build on each other in convenient, shorter bursts over time, instead of all at once in long classroom lessons. It allows students to give their brains bite-sized packages of information, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. It is a life skill to only give your brain a certain amount of information at a time, so it can be properly absorbed and processed.
6. Brain Break
Brain breaks are short, 5-to 10-minute activities, like dancing or standing up to stretch, that allow students to stay refreshed after focusing in class for a long period of time. These are most effective when scheduled throughout the school day. By taking these breaks, students are less likely to feel stressed or anxious and they will be better able to focus on their next lesson or task. They will also be able to retain information better.
Here’s a word we hear a lot. The practice of mindfulness involves being aware of, and accepting, both the external world and our internal experiences. By teaching mindfulness in the classroom, we can help improve students’ response to stress, making it useful for social-emotional and growth mindset lessons, as well as for helping students who are feeling overwhelmed.
8. Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is a strategy that develops skills in a setting outside of the classroom. This includes taking students on outings and providing them with assignments that encourage learning outside of school. ESCA provides Phenomenon Based Learning, which is experiential learning and always ensures that students are learning about things that take place in the world around them.
9. STEAM Curriculum
Finally, you may be familiar with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum and how it prepares students to enter the workforce. But, adding the Arts alongside these subjects (therefore creating STEAM: STEM plus Arts) can improve students’ academic performance. It also improves creativity and is shown to provide students with a more well-rounded and practical education. We encourage all forms of Art at ESCA and build it into our curriculum, to offer a well rounded education!
10. The Flipped Classroom
The Flipped Classroom allows students to gain first-exposure learning to the specific topic before covering it in the classroom. The processing part of learning then takes place in class. This is done by giving the students an assignment on the topic prior to class. The students then receive productive feedback through the activities that occur during class, reducing the need for the teacher to provide extensive written feedback on the students’ work. There are a number of benefits, including the fact that students receive exposure to the topic prior to class, it provides an incentive for students to prepare for class and it provides a unique and valuable way to assess student understanding.
So, next time you hear a conversation about how education isn’t evolving and how archaic it seems to be, just remember that there are trends which are updating pedagogy all the time! Just as everything around us is changing, so are many aspects of education, learning and teaching.