5 Ways Elementary School has Changed
Besides the pandemic at hand, the way students are learning have changed drastically in recent years. Parents should be aware of these 5 things when helping their students.
Honorable Mention: Technology
Not only are students using laptops or tablets in school regularly, technology is appearing in other ways. Students with auditory conditions benefit from educators wearing microphones that connect to a headphone in the student's ear. All grades take brain breaks or practice yoga and meditation throughout the day via numerous sources on YouTube.
Older grades are using new apps and programs to create basic presentations, get rewards for reading, and hold virtual conversations in distance learning situations. While many parents rightfully worry about screen time, schools are embracing technology to prepare a new generation to use it responsibly.
5. The Role of the Teacher
Gone are the days of a teacher smacking a yardstick on the chalkboard, ranting like in Charlie Brown. Teachers are now trained to be well-rounded care givers; teaching academics, character lessons, and social/emotional health. Students are viewed as learners
beyond the books as teachers educate them on how to become functional participants in their community. Lecturing is reserved for college professors while teachers, especially in elementary, are now instructed to guide education as a group leader. And, it works.
4. The Role of the Student
Some would argue the greatest change in education is what we ask of our students. The assessment of a student's ability to retain knowledge has long been an outdated mode of thinking.
Next came the focus on comprehension;
the ability to reiterate subject knowledge in an attempt to show mastery. Most recently, critical thinking has taken precedence.
All three of these skills are that modern students are assessed on in every subject, for the most accurate gauge of their learning.
3. Pair and Group Work
The push for pair and group work has been founded out of previous generations having the education necessary to function in society, but lacking the cooperative social skills to do so effectively. Beyond that, there are countless examples of how peer learning can reinforce content material.
This is achieved by means of "think-pair-share" activities where students silently consider the subject themselves, pair up with a partner or group and combine ideas, then share the final product with the group. The pooling of understandings generates a type of lesson delivery that a single teacher could not hope to come up with alone, and promotes the students' ideas to the forefront of the learning process.
2. I do, We do, You do
This is the process of teaching that modern models are based off of. It could be considered the most important items on this list for caretakers to understand. Teachers start by showing the process or examples of the topic.
This often covers a variety of sensory and delivery methods, engaging students in the process. Next, the teacher leads the class in example work, practicing the skill being focused on. Lastly, the students must demonstrate their learning on their own. This usually comes in the form of classwork, homework, or projects. I (the teacher) do, we (the teacher and the class) do, you (the student) do.
1. Historical Honesty
Without touching on current events, our country is realizing that multiple generations were given a version of history in school that augments the portrayal of certain groups throughout history. It is a version called Eurocentrism. Cutting to the point, Eurocentrism focuses on the creation of White society out of Mesopotamia, into Europe, and then into North America where it portrays American culture through the lens of Manifest Destiny, a very problematic story. Not only does it downplay, justify, or otherwise ignore the many atrocities committed by White society in the name of building civilization, it completely erases major players in global history.
Did you know, that for centuries, African empires were the dominant trading force in the world? This came undone when Europeans became better equipped to fight malaria and increased their military technologies. But, not many people know about this because of Eurocentrism. During this time period, American history focuses on reformations in the Catholic and Protestant churches, the emerging renaissance, and Christopher Columbus' "discovery" of the New World. There is so much to cover about what Eurocentrism ignores, so please go read about history!
Thank you for reading! We will post weekly blogs about education here.
Stay tuned and stay healthy!