The traditional model of K-12 education within school systems is rapidly diminishing as the ‘norm’ as fresh, innovative techniques are making an impact on how the US sees education as whole. Education is always evolving, and new trends can bring a positive impact on learners within current and future educational systems. Here are seven trends that are making headway in education and will change the educational landscape for K-12 programs throughout the country for years to come.
1. A Focus on Real-World Needs
One trend that is taking hold in education systems across the board is preparing learners for the real world. Whether this is community building, technology, or a focus on problem solving, this isn’t something that necessarily was given much attention in the past. Having hybrid learning can be a great way to complement this as well. If there are online components to learning, students will have an opportunity to learn more about computer programs and how these might be utilized to interface with the real world around them.
2. Family and Community Involvement
These days, there is a grassroots movement for families to be more involved with their children’s learning and education. This trend looks at the whole child and their educational needs, and not just formal education as a means to an end, as might have been in the past. Parents are taking more of an interest in their child’s education and where this fits into their overall development goals. This can be a great way for families and communities to work together to make sure that children are getting the help that they need and will be prepared for the future. Sometimes, this integral link can be missing in a more traditional school system setting. This unique opportunity to utilize parents and those in the community to give back and help with learning, fostering creativity, and individuality can be a benefit for all.
3. Online Learning Alternatives
Depending on the age of children and their learning scope, having an online learning option can be a better fit. This is a trend that has gained traction in higher education and professional development, and is finally become more of an opportunity in the K-12 environment. Whether a child is home-schooled or in an alternative program, online learning can help with technology skills, time management, and collaboration through online communities and forums when it comes to group work, tasks, and projects.
4. More Educational Options in Populated Areas
While it might seem counter-intuitive, sometimes finding the right fit when it comes to childhood education can be even harder in overpopulated areas. Classes that are at max capacity, schools with impacted curriculums, or programs with no guarantee of admission year-to-year can be valid concerns of parents and a detriment to kids in populated communities such as Southern California. Seeking out alternative educational programs such as charter schools can be a great way for parents to find schools that fit the needs of their children, and give them the flexibility to make their own choice when it comes to education. As charter schools grow in popularity, having this choice has made all of the difference for some children who may have been put into less-than-optimal education situations otherwise.
5. Growing Alternative Communities
While local communities are the starting place for many newer educational models, as these grow throughout the country, communities will be larger and have more connections. This can lead to a bigger stake in the mainstream educational model throughout the US. A larger network for charter and online schools is a new trend that is really coming into its own. This is alongside traditional public and private school models, and isn’t considered a small separate community anymore. Assistance for budgets, curriculum, and accreditation are things that all states take seriously when it comes to alternative educational models, and the government will keep a close eye on what alternative trends might stem in the future.
6. Seeking Control Over Educational Missions and Goals
While public schools have their heart in the right place when it comes to childhood education, it can be frustrating for parents when things aren’t working or the mission isn’t matching up with the goals as intended. In smaller, alternative education environments, a direct correlation between the mission set forward and how goals will be achieved is transparent can be altered or discussed along the way. Many times, charter schools are evolving, and can be an organic, exciting place for everyone involved. Seeking out what isn’t working and replacing with needed tools or models is something that both teachers and parents can feel good about and implement as needed.
7. Embracing Individualized Learning
One the best trends that is coming out of the new educational climate is the need for individualized learning. All students are different, and will have different learning capacities and strengths. This needs to be fostered and celebrated instead of shut down. Many times, impacted school systems can struggle to find the time to find out what makes a student tick and get them excited about learning. In a smaller school that has small classrooms, groups, or even individual learning, this can be a focus of the curriculum at all ages and levels. This trend is something that is gaining popularity because the results are hard to deny. Children who once were frustrated in an educational environment might flourish and have more of a capacity when it comes to daily learning and focus.
Moving away from traditional models of education and teaching is something that is gaining traction and is readying our children for the real world around them. Charter schools and other alternative methods of teaching can set into place the building blocks that all children will need depending on their individual learning capacities and strengths. Focusing on what works and not being afraid to change traditional methods of education are directly benefiting children and families.
Education is changing and at Method Schools we're happy to do our part.