The school system today must reflect aspects most relevant today rather than those most relevant in the past. Change can be frightening and overwhelming to many, particularly to those who have experienced success with an existing format. As Charles Darwin stated, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
The World and Your Curriculum
You must be flexible and adapt your curriculum to reflect the changes throughout the world and the significant events that take place. Either choose to begin with world events and fundamental societal changes and work them into your curriculum or choose specific subject matter and attach a world event or relatable current news to the subject. It is imperative that students understand the ways in which they are connected to the world.
Choose just one historical event, scientific discovery, novel, etc. You might address an entire semester or unit to the content. You might choose to have students work in groups or individually to explore the ways in which they can relate former material to life today or current events to past experiences. You can even have each student choose something that has greatly influenced their lives and have them research other similar situations in other parts of the world.
The Inclusion of Technology
Today, nearly every job incorporates technology to some degree. Students who have access to technology as a tool for learning in their classroom will have a distinct advantage over those who do not. In some countries or school districts, all students receive a personal laptop, tablet or have access to other technologies.
The benefits of technology in the classroom continue to grow for both students and teachers.
Benefits and advantages include an increase in student engagement, greater collaboration, improvement in digital literacy, grade automation, track progress and student data, better classroom management, save time, better test scores, all students have access to resources, no more textbooks, easier to adapt lessons to each student and access to the world. This all helps to customize teaching tools for each student to enhance their individual development. And many schools are doing so with augmented and virtual reality.
Physical fitness in school has never been more important. Obesity in children is an epidemic with 18.5 percent of all children between the ages of 2 and 19 being obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 17 should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity, if not more, each day.
Consistent physical activity for young people is vital to their health in many ways, such as to prevent heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and cancer. It also helps to help with cognitive development, better grades, improved classroom behavior, fewer sick days and better focus and concentration. Physical activity is directly related to educational performance in most circumstances.
The Finnish Curriculum
You might find some aspects of other educational systems highly useful and find they inspire creativity and innovation in your lesson plans. One example is that of recent changes to the Finnish curriculum. The education system in Finland is consistently rated amongst the highest in the world despite the fact children do not begin school until the age of seven and they have shorter school days.
They use interactive smart boards for greater interaction. A 3D printer is used for presentations and the printed pieces are also used in an innovative board game. Laptops are used to develop communication, technology, cultural understanding and research skills. And, the students choose subjects that are relevant to them and the teachers develop lessons on their preferences. The schools also focus on critical thinking so that students leave with the ability to avoid cyberbullying, be able to link to a printer, install software and identify fake news.
Involved Parents Versus Parents Not Involved
Education experts and professionals agree that when parents are involved in the education process of a child, their performance improves. It is highly important to note that the socio-economic status or race has no bearing on this impact. At the end of the day, children achieve more regardless of the amount of money their parents earn or the color of their skin when parents are involved in the education process.
Students will experience better attendance, higher grades, higher test scores and higher rates of homework completion. High school graduation rates will improve, and enrollment rates to higher education increases. And when parents and educators work together on behalf of the child, even greater results are accomplished. The first thing parents can do is to read more at home with their children.
Job Outlooks and Employability
Skills and subjects based on future jobs are the areas that should be taught in school. It is also important to note that jobs will vary based on locations. The jobs in rural locations will continue to be more agricultural based, and possibly manufacturing based, in comparison to metropolitan cities. And, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 50 percent of job activities are at risk of being replaced by automation.
Some jobs will continue to be important for the foreseeable future. These might include computer programming, plumbing and teaching. As the world faces more global issues, such as an increase in wildfires and ocean pollution, the need for STEM jobs continues to grow. The world needs students who can find and create solutions to these problems and students who are passionate about changing the ways of humanity to make the world a better place for everyone rather than a few.
In many public schools, classroom sizes are growing and the quality of education is declining as teachers focus on test scores to keep their jobs rather than actual learning. If the curriculum of your school does not live up to your standards, try an in-home teacher.
The trend of hiring an in-home teacher is growing rapidly to ensure children do not fall behind their potential regardless of the circumstance. An in-home teacher, or tutor, is not terribly expensive today. You might consider a student teacher from a local college or an exceptional student within the school district.
If a school system is going to be truly successful today, it must look to the world as a reference point and embrace change and new direction away from the traditional models. Some aspects remain relevant; however, many other subjects and methodologies from the 20th Century may no longer have any importance in future job placement and educational success as it once did.