To quote one of my previous graduate school professors, "education is simply made up of alphabet soup."
The times in which we are living are truly odd and unprecedented. Actually, there are a lot of words that people use to describe this time. I’ve heard scary, crazy, stressful, and boring, just to name a few. Some people have used this time to improve themselves by working out or trying new hobbies. Others are worried or stressed about their job security and family's wellbeing. But, one thing I think we can agree upon is that this is a time to come together and revel in comfort and support.
This year has already proven to be a whirlwind for many schools and districts across the nation. Between educational strikes resulting in negotiations between lawmakers and teachers and a global pandemic causing schools to scramble for alternative learning methods, there are many trends and changes in the field of education to watch this year.
Has your district made the shift to using digital resources and technology in the classroom? Some have and many more are in the process of doing so. This change raises the question: what digital skills do teachers need? Primarily, teachers need training on digital pedagogy, the devices that students will be using, and issues that may arise as a result of going paperless.
A pedagogical shift towards teaching social studies in conjunction with other subjects, and not as an isolated topic, has slowly emerged on the horizon in public schools for the last five years. In some states, standardized state tests in social studies have been discontinued for students in 6th and 7th grades because they are considered non-essential. Teachers continue to ask why social studies content is being pushed aside for language arts, math, and other STEM-based curricula. Social studies, especially at the secondary level, is a disappearing and often thought of as less important curriculum, but it doesn’t have to be.
We want our classrooms to be utopian communities, ideal worlds of cooperation and happiness. Classroom-management experts describe strategies to achieve that dream, but their advice falls across a continuum with the top-down, teacher-in-charge approach at one end and the bottom-up, students-create-the-rules at the other. Which approach is best?
Adult Learning Theory understands that adults have their own, unique way of learning. In childhood and adolescence, self-concept is still developing, but for adults who learn in the workplace or at professional development seminars, they are more independent and learn best when they draw on experience. Seeing a direct connection between what they are learning and their day-to-day activities tends to help adults learn as well.
For my first permanent teaching position, I was lucky enough to fill a history position at a small K-8 school in a rural community. I say lucky for several reasons.
This past school year, I transitioned from a K–8 school to a high school. I went from teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to ninth and twelfth graders. In short, it was a big jump going from a middle school setting to the high school.
As educators, we always notice gaps and different learning styles among our students, but do we ever think why? Researchers have deemed this “the achievement gap,” which refers to the difference in test scores between different groups of students.