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5 Changes in Education That Will Transform Your Child's Love of Learning

Do you want to help your child develop a love of learning? There are 5 things that are changing in education today, that you can be a part of, and they will transform your child's love towards learning.

The traditional 100+-year-old system is outdated and fails to inspire a love of learning in kids. It will continue to be ineffective so long as it maintains its traditional routines that are outdated and not student-centered.

A system is not capable of cultivating innovative future-thinkers if it cannot shift innovatively and become future-focused, itself. -Jody Cordova, Paradigm Learning Microschool

Your child deserves an educational experience that engages them deeply and fosters a drive and love for learning. And there are changes happening in the world of education that can help you provide these opportunities for them.

#1: Personalized Learning - A shift to instruction

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. -John F. Kennedy

Personalized Learning is more than a computer program that can adjust or reteach a lesson that a student struggles with. It is a learning experience that is customized to your child's interests, passions, and needs. Why? Because every student is different and does not need to conform to the one-size-fits-all mentality. It is flexible for pace and reteaching. Instruction shifts – it is no longer about how students will be taught, but rather who is being taught. When a teacher shifts their focus and approaches instruction as a mentor rather than whole-group director, a student no longer needs to conform to a particular method or style because everything is student-centered. The student does not need to follow the routine for the sake of gathering information or keeping up with the class pace. Instead, how learning happens is rooted in who the student is. It is a multi-faceted question, but all-encompassing approach. Who the student is includes details such as interests and passions, academic levels, future aspirations, strengths, learning style(s), needs, and mindset. Tie all of these strings together and you have a motivated student who is empowered to dive into their learning path.

#2: Microschools - A shift to student:teacher ratios

No students show the benefit of larger class sizes. ...Test scores go down and discipline problems go up. -BJ Brooks

There are a lot of definitions for the term micro-school, but it can be translated literally: a small school. The concept actually originated in the UK and has increased in popularity here in the United States because parents want more for their kids. One thing all micro-schools have in common is that they have small student:teacher ratios, which can naturally provide students more support than traditional classrooms are capable of. This also creates an accessible pathway of communication between parents and teachers. Usually, micro schools do not exceed 15 students. But beyond that micro-schools can be a variety of different things. Many are led in homes by parents as outsourced homeschooling or an alternative to public. Paradigm Learning Micro-school is a private, K-8 environment set in a commercial location. It employs certified teachers and specializes in Personalized Learning and Competency-Based Instruction. The advantages of a micro-school are numerous and the right one can easily help students develop a new lease on learning.

#3: Student-involved data decisions: A shift in ownership

Traditionally, educators deal directly with data. And research has repeatedly shown that data-driven instructional decisions make the most impact on a teacher’s effectiveness. But what happens is that everything is left up to the educator to decide and filter, which is an example of what the traditional system offers students (or, perhaps, fails to offer students). Educators choose what data to measure, how to filter it, what data to discard or curve the results on, and then they decide the changes. What those changes will look like, who will be impacted by them, and what results they hope for are always decisions made by the teacher. They look at data to determine what lessons they need to reteach, which usually looks like a repeat of the original lesson.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin

However, new research shows that when students are involved in the process of analyzing their own raw (unfiltered) data, they are given control and a voice over their own learning path. This opportunity alone has proven to significantly increase motivation, empowerment, and confidence. It helps students develop lifelong skills relevant to their future such as decision making, the ability to decipher data, cause and effect, consequences, self-reflection, critical thinking, analyzing details, and much more. And when students are regularly involved in making decisions based on their own data, they gain deeper insight into their strengths and areas of need making it easier to identify and act upon. This process teaches students the value of self-reflection and how it relates to growth.

As a side note and something else to ponder, research also suggests that pairing student-involved data analysis with project-based learning catapults student growth.

#4: Quick and specific feedback -A shift to support growth

Two specific instances pop into my head when I think of quick and specific feedback. First, when I was a junior in high school, I waited 2 weeks to get the results of an essay. Second, when I was a public school teacher, I remember my students asked if I had graded their tests yet. My point is that the same issue that existed 25 years ago still plagues teachers, students, and parents today. What is the purpose of feedback, anyways? It is intended to provide guidance that will benefit an individual in their growth, experience, understanding, and competency of something. But, by the time any feedback was given the teachers were well on their way to a completely new topic, essay, story, or chapter. Truthfully, most of the students were just anticipating their grade, not the feedback that could potentially help shape their growth (which ushers in the topic of the grading system, which we will discuss below). The issue of timely and purposeful feedback existed 25 years ago and still exists today. And yet the world outside the classroom is totally different. So why do we insist on keeping the same structure and overall method of instruction?

Decades of education research support the idea that by teaching less and and providing more feedback, we can produce greater learning. -Grant Wiggins

An embracing-the-world-of-innovation-and-change response from educators would be to question the impact slow feedback or even a lack of feed has on student growth. And for that matter, specific feedback. Based on research,quick and specific feedback is essential to student growth. In fact, research actually says that student growth accelerates when feedback is ongoing, significant, and quick. When students can converse with peers and the teacher it allows for open reflection on what went well, what can improve, where the challenges were, and an opportunity to revisit the skill being learned. When feedback is immediate educators have a much easier time seeing needs and helping students before they have a chance to slip through the cracks. And students have shown a significant increase in motivation and determination in what they are learning. The way to do it is by embracing smart technology that can organize, manage, store, chart, and assess. Immediate results support immediate feedback.

#5: Competency-Based Education - A shift to the grading system

Think back to the last assessment you had to take. Did you ever think, “Can I just show you what I know?” If so, then what you were really asking for was a Competency-Based Education system. Competency-Based Education partners with Personalized Learning. In essence, it would be hard to have one without the other because they go hand-in-hand. Successful use of this method truly requires a complete shift away from traditional methods otherwise it will not be sustainable.

Competence is a great creator of confidence.
-Mary Jo Putney

Competency-Based Education asks, “What will it look like when this is mastered?” and “Why does it need to be learned?”. Competencies are clear and precise expectations that paint a picture of what it will look like when a student has mastered a skill or group of skills. It connects learning to the student’s real life and ushers in flexibility, skill-training, real-world experience, personalized interests, is purpose-driven, and moves at a student’s pace. Rather than shutting the classroom door and trying to close out the real world from the learning environment, Competency-Based Education fosters a relationship between learning and real-life by encouraging students to use personal opportunities, interests, and passions as pathways to demonstrate complete competence in what they are learning.

Can you imagine how your child would feel as a learner in this type of environment?

These 5 educational changes are unique and innovative options popping up in educational environments around the United States. They are key to developing a fresh, deep, and driven love of learning in your child that all parents hope for.

If we succeed in giving the love of learning, the learning itself is sure to follow. -John Lubbock

Too many children suffer the consequences of an outdated teaching model that is failing them. Paradigm Learning is an innovative K-8 micro-school that provides learning style personalization so that each student can follow their own unique learning path and experience the confidence that comes when their own genius shines through.

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