“With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
With a new year, many of us focus on what we can do differently to impact teacher and student success. We’d like to share the following education trends we hope to see which provide possibilities galore.
Whole Child Approach
The whole child approach to learning will increasingly take hold in classrooms nationwide. Tapping into children’s multiple intelligences and adding more physical and emotional activities is a key part of this approach. According to Bo Stjerne Thomsen and Edith Ackermann, “Research suggests that “whole child development,” not routine or standardized classroom-based learning, empowers children as creative and engaged citizens who can strengthen the wellbeing of a whole society.”
The twenty first century learner requires a whole child approach for lifelong learning and overall success. “The development of these qualities, which rely on an individual’s self-worth and self-control, critically outperform any other positive measures of children’s long-term outcomes, whether academically or intellectually.” write Thomsen and Ackermann.
Teacher-Driven Professional Development
Every educator needs high quality, engaging, implementable professional development. Unfortunately, there is usually a disconnect between the type of professional development available and the type desired by teachers and administrators.
“Professional development is probably one of the most important areas that we, as adults in the building, [can focus on] in order to continue to prepare each student to be successful. A highly-skilled, highly-trained staff will mean that our students will receive a world-class education,” says Dr. Attila Weninger, former superintendent. As educators move towards more engaging, student-led, hands-on learning, they need professional development to give them the skills to engage students, act like mentors and coaches and give ideas and guidance for projects. An awareness of this changing role provides both classroom teachers and administrators the opportunity to choose professional development that matches their needs.
Technology to Adapt Easily
A current priority for many schools is ensuring that technology is not only available, but also adaptable for teachers and students. Ideas for how schools use technology in ways that allow easy adoption and adaptation were outlined by Matthew Lynch for EdWeek. He writes that, “These schools look for new ways to implement digital learning strategies and understand that these changes are ongoing. By understanding that education and technology are constantly changing, these schools make preparations for technology that can be modified and used into the future.”
Schools actively embracing and implementing this awareness into their core belief system are more nimble and ready for just about anything technology can throw at them. From increased availability of technology for students, to a better process for educators to try out new applications or videos in their classrooms, technology must be a tool rather than a burden for educators.
Focus on Teacher Retention & Satisfaction
Teaching is a tough job, that is not in dispute. Keeping educators satisfied and in the job they generally enjoy remains a challenge. We need to increase our efforts to keep teachers engaged and in the classroom. There are a number of ideas about what is needed; more money, better technology, increased communication with education leaders, decreased focus on standardized test scores are just a few on the list.
Small solutions, though, can make a big difference. Specific, ongoing, new teacher mentoring programs, embedded professional development and increased collaboration with other educators are three important pieces of the teacher satisfaction puzzle. Let’s make this a part of the dialogue in 2018.
“Whole School” Development
ASCD, together with CDC and other organizations have raised awareness of the need for collaboration of education, family and community leaders to ensure success for our children. According to ASCD, “Health and education affects individuals, society, and the economy and, as such, must work together whenever possible. Schools are a perfect setting for this collaboration.” The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model integrates the more common school health approach and the whole child framework to support students educational and medical needs. It takes a village to raise our children and this is a step to bringing that truth to students all across the country.
LET’S DO THIS!
We, like most of you, are hopeful when it comes to starting a new year. The possibilities, at this point, are boundless. We keep looking up with a smile on our faces knowing that when we put our minds and passions on our goals for this year, we can achieve just about anything.
Welcome 2018, we’re excited for what you will show us.
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