It’s no secret that the face of education has changed dramatically over the past ten years or so. Teachers across the country are working hard to equip children with the skills needed for success in the 21st century world.
Today’s youngsters were born in the age of the Internet. Many are more technologically savvy than the adults assigned the task of teaching them. To connect with these kids, teachers must learn to speak their language and become conversant with the technology that comes so naturally to the young. Integrating technology means tapping into students’ interests and strengthening their technical skills, all while providing enriching learning opportunities.
In addition to instilling in students the flexibility to readily adapt to changing technologies, teachers must foster learning environments that encourage critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, global awareness, and social responsibility.
Teachers can tailor learning experiences to differentiate among the individual needs of students in the classroom. There are three main learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Teachers can also differentiate by matching assignments to readiness levels, offering appropriate intervention or extension activities as required. Allowing children to select activities based on areas of interest is another great way to differentiate.
Involving children in the goal-setting process is an excellent way to encourage them to take ownership of their learning. In the early stages, goal setting needs to be done in a very clear and simplistic way – for example, frequent two-way conversations with children about their progress in specific areas.
In contrast to the traditional teaching of subjects in isolation, teaching multiple subjects simultaneously can help students go much deeper in learning concepts and skills. Naturally, this approach asks more from the teacher. It can be easy to blend math, science, or social studies content with reading or writing. However, it is more challenging to combine all the subjects at once. Here are some of the major approaches to simultaneous learning. Project-based learning involves children carrying out a project that ends up with a concrete result of some kind. Problem-based learning asks the teacher to guide children in developing solutions to real-world problems. In inquiry-based learning, children generate their own questions according to their curiosities or interests, which they then investigate.
Assessment for Learning, is a data-gathering process used by teachers or parents to help them customize instruction to match students’ needs. Summative assessments don’t always give a clear picture of what a student knows.