What trends in education are beneficial and which ones are not?What trends in education are beneficial and which ones are not?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two beneficial trends in education come to mind, the growing acceptance of cooperative learning as an instructional method and the increased integration of technology in the classroom. Cooperative learning is not to be confused with "group work," which too often materialized as two students working, one writing notes, one sleeping, and all earning credit. Structured cooperative learning activities define specific roles for each member of a team, require active participation, and strengthen students' abilities to master content and learn to work with others to accomplish tasks within a limited period of time. These are skills much in demand in the "real world."

Employing technology effectively in lesson planning moves students beyond the confines of the classroom and engages their interests by speaking to them in their own "language." Various technologies add sound and graphics to instruction and also create "hands-on" activities, thus appealing to different learning styles.

One trend that is clearly not beneficial is focusing exclusively on teacher accountability in addressing failure in the classroom. This eliminates discussion of and solutions for many very real and very serious impediments to student learning. Recently, two especially counterproductive ideas have been pushed by some in the matter of student learning and teacher accountability: that class size and teachers' experience in the classroom are of no significance.

Research suggests that an effective teacher is, in fact, the most critical component in students' learning, but it also suggests that talented experienced teachers are more effective than talented inexperienced teachers. Huge class sizes no doubt ease the financial burdens of school districts, but they also impede the effectiveness of even the best teachers. To sum up, the most detrimental current trend in education is politicizing it; political agendas do not solve problems in education.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For the most part, I think that the advance of technology has had a beneficial effect on education. I have a Promethean Board in my room, and by creating interactive flipcharts, I am able to involve students in the learning process who normally would not be interested. Kinesthetic learners, especially, do better when they can get out of their seats and use the touch-screen technology.

Similarly, with new grading programs being made available at a rapid rate, my communication with parents has increased and is more meaningful. I can efficiently send home grade reports along with a list of upcoming assignments each week, and this has improved most of my students' progress.

In regards to the trends in teacher pay, I really don't know that teacher pay has that much to do with benefiting or hurting education. Quality teachers don't go into or stay in education for the pay rate. I'm not arguing that teachers shouldn't be paid fairly, I just don't think that merit pay or any of the other pay-scale trends will have much to do with student learning.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I unfortunately think the overwhelming majority of trends in education are not beneficial. I'm speaking of everything from scripted curriculum, eliminating tenure (due process rights), increasing high stakes testing pressures, turn around schools, closing 'failing' schools, eliminating the arts, merit pay, value added analysis, special education changes, data driven instruction, and numerous intervention programs such as Response to Intervention. The list really does go on.

However, in the midst of the chaos, I do believe that people should not be paid more simply because they have worked longer. If teachers were not paid more based solely on seniority, then we wouldn't have to worry about districts letting go of expensive veterans to hire the cheaper teachers. All teachers really should be paid equally, with a few exceptions of course. However, paying teachers equally despite the number of years served is not really a trend that is actually happening now, but perhaps in the future I could see it becoming a trend.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am seeing the beginnings of a trend away from high stakes standardized testing as the sole means of measuring the performance of a student or a school, although this is probably more because of our budget crisis than any wake up call on the part of state and national governments.

Unfortunately, so many more trends are in the negative at this point.  More pay cuts and layoffs for teachers seem inevitable in the next six months.  The assault on collective bargaining rights, thinly veiled as some sort of attempt to balance state budgets, is widening to more states.  Over the longer term, people are less likely to become educators, and the talent pool we have to draw from is shrinking.  Can't say I really blame them, but how does anyone expect education to improve if there are few intrinsic or extrinsic rewards left to pursue in such a career?

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A new law proposed and sponsored by Florida Governor Rick Scott ends the tenure system earned by teachers with three years experience beginning in 2011. Scott has also signed into law a bill that requires all teachers (and state employees) to contribute 5% of their salary into the state requirement system. Scott has also proposed multi-million dollar cuts to the state's education system, and has now proposed that all teachers (and state employees) take a random drug test every three months. I'm sure such laws will make many aspiring teachers to think twice before taking a teaching position in Florida. File this under NOT BENEFICIAL to public school education--and teachers in particular.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to say that having spent 9 years in a school with performance-related bonuses, this trend was positive and did focus teachers to meet objectives and strive for success in a way I have not seen in my three subsequent positions. I taught the range of abilities and our targets were negotiated then rewarded when met. The school became the top performing comprehensive in the UK.

I think any trend which is absorbed wholesale as the 'only' way to do something is dangerous. I have worked through such trends as phonics-only reading, ITA, restorative justice, etc, etc. All had there value, but no idea is a panacea for all.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #4, and I think this is a definite beneficial trend that we can point to as we think about how education is improving and changing. Certainly when I was taught at school, there was little recognition of differentiation apart from separating students into classes of similar abilities, but now phrases such as "teach to each" and allowing students to work at their own pace are very predominant in teaching.

I think a definite negative trend is the focus on exams and league tables which are causing teachers to have to teach to prepare their students for tests and water down the process of education.

rskardal eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In response to #1, every study that has looked into merit pay has found that it has no positive impact. Sadly, the only measure by which merit seems to be measured in this approach has been high stakes testing, which #1 has mentioned is harmful.

I've taken the time to find a collated list of these studies for anyone interested in pursuing the subject further.

Trends that have had a positive impact on my teaching and that I think would have a positive impact on others are the rise of professional learning communities as well as "Understanding By Design" lesson planning.

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Mshurn, to a great extent, but would add one more strategy that is currently proving beneficial: Project-Based Learning. PBL integrates the positives of cooperative learning and differentiated instruction. It gives students the chance to exhibit their unique learning style while providing them with real-world and meaningful tasks. Plus, it demands that teachers and students alike integrate technology into their teaching and learning. PBL isn't just some "latest greatest" strategy -- it's something that will serve us well now and in years to come as well.

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A trend in education that is beneficial is differentiating instruction. Studies prove that not everyone learns the same way. Therefore, by approaching a topic using different learning styles, this may help more students become successful. A trend that is not beneficial is the assumption that a new teacher can bring more to the table, than a seasoned professional. Whatever happened to age brings wisdom and experience? Would you rather have a medical student operate on you or an experienced surgeon?

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The trend of standardized testing being used to  hold schools and students accountable is bad. This forces many schools away from the best practice of finding what's important to the student and using that as a means of teaching things they need to learn. NCLB leaves many special education students behind because it sets standards that they must achieve despite the fact that some will never be able to achieve them.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One trend that has potential benefit is the increase in attention to mastery learning.  The problem, of course, is what defines mastery?  How do you identify which specific sub-skills are a problem that could be holding a student back from mastery?  What do you do when a portion of the class has met the determination of mastery and the rest haven't?  Like most trends -- nothing is clear-cut.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here's a short answer:  the ones that work are beneficial.  The ones that do not work are not beneficial.  One thing that determines whether or not the trend works is if the governing body which forced it upon the education world in the first place allotted enough money to fund the plan. 

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Generally speaking, an educational trend which asks students to think less is not going to benefit students or education. Specifically, and looking back, I think of whole language learning as a spectacular failure and the cause of countless poor, ineffective, and/or disinterested readers.

thewanderlust878 | Student

I think that is depends on the circumstance. In most cases it is easy to say that the ones that work are the ones that are beneficial, and the ones that don't are not, however, it might need to be further tested to see which ones are truly beneficial and which ones are not. For example, maybe it needs to be tested with a different group of students (maybe high school kids instead of junior high) and the results may be surprising. 

gopikrishna | Student

Education is an important investment in building human capital that is a driver for technological innovation and economic growth. It is only through improving the educational status of a society that the multi-faceted development of its people can be ensured. In the post-industrialized world, the advanced countries used to derive the major proportion of their national income not from agriculture and industry but from the service sector. Since the service sector is based on imparting skills or training to the students and youth, the education sector is the most sought after. It must provide gainful employment so that the sector is developed in a big way. It has also given rise to controversies relating to introducing changes in the inter-sectoral priorities in the allocation of resources leading to the misconceived policy of downsizing of higher education.

the integrated usage of information and communication technologies (ICT) in optimizing the flow of information between seven critical city infrastructure services: administration, education, healthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation, and utilities. By implementing initiatives based on this information to enhance efficiency and performance of these services to the citizen you create cities that are “smarter.”

 

 

monica1028 | Student

A new law proposed and sponsored by Florida Governor Rick Scott ends the tenure system earned by teachers with three years experience beginning in 2011. Scott has also signed into law a bill that requires all teachers (and state employees) to contribute 5% of their salary into the state requirement system. Scott has also proposed multi-million dollar cuts to the state's education system, and has now proposed that all teachers (and state employees) take a random drug test every three months. I'm sure such laws will make many aspiring teachers to think twice before taking a teaching position in Florida. File this under NOT BENEFICIAL to public school education--and teachers in particular.

Random drug testing and other screenings for teachers should be mandatory in every school system.It's in the children's best interest and safety to be sure their teachers are not drug addicts, pedophiles, mentally disturbed, etc. I am surprised these things have not been mandatory before now, in every school,every district, and every state. Everyone has to worry about their children every where they go but school should be a safe place where parents should not have to worry about these things. I understand that some of the children can be just as dangerous but many school systems have put police and metal detectors in the schoolsto deter major problems like Columbine. Please explain why you think drug screening is non-beneficial to public school education. As all I can see is the benefits it will provide. 

       I do agree that cuts to the education system is not a good idea. Schools need all the funding they can possibly get, for materials, arts, music and sports. Many of these things are critical in making children want to learn and are being cut all over the United States and being replaced by mandatory testing which many of the children are not ready for because the testing takes away so much of the time needed to educate them.

xxjagu10xx | Student

I feel that teachers a professors who can be equal and get to the level of the students are the bext teachers. The best teaching method is to teach the class in a way that the class would be interested. This includes walking around, doing class projects, making the napter more lively, etc.

mimaestro | Student

Hi happyangel

The principles of Accelerated Learning (Superlearning) are certainly beneficial. At a time when students all around the world still find lessons difficult and boring, AL gives hope with its premise that learning is easy and fun. It emphasizes the importance of the right brain (responsible for creative thinking) in learning and advocates using as many different parts of the brain as possible, which is surely better than the too much emphasis given to the analytical left brain activities in traditional education.

A new educational trend of our times is spaced learning (10 min lessons with 10 minutes breaks spent doing physical activities). I agree that concentration could be better when the lessons are short. But in the videos of this type of lessons (can be found on You Tube) I see that students go to sports areas, which I find may not be feasible every time and could be exhaustive for students. I did something similar with students in the Physical Education Department, thinking that the lessons would appeal to them more, but they said they didn't want to sweat in the classroom. Alternatives could be found, like listening to music, watching videos, eating, singing, chatting etc Frequent breaks are useful, but when you have got the flow in learning, becoming unaware of time and place and being fully absorbed in your work, it's not necessary at all. On the contrary, interruptions would be detrimental in such cases.

Hope this answers your question.

 

mimaestro | Student

Hi happyangel

The principles of Accelerated Learning (Superlearning) are certainly beneficial. At a time when students all around the world still find lessons difficult and boring, AL gives hope with its premise that learning is easy and fun. It emphasizes the importance of the right brain (responsible for creative thinking) in learning and advocates using as many different parts of the brain as possible, which is surely better than the too much emphasis given to the analytical left brain activities in traditional education.

A new educational trend of our times is spaced learning (10 min lessons with 10 minutes breaks spent doing physical activities). I agree that concentration could be better when the lessons are short. But in the videos of this type of lessons (can be found on You Tube) I see that students go to sports areas, which I find may not be feasible every time and could be exhaustive for students. I did something similar with students in the Physical Education Department, thinking that the lessons would appeal to them more, but they said they didn't want to sweat in the classroom. Alternatives could be found, like listening to music, watching videos, eating, singing, chatting etc Frequent breaks are useful, but when you have got the flow in learning, becoming unaware of time and place and being fully absorbed in your work, it's not necessary at all. On the contrary, interruptions would be detrimental in such cases.

Hope this answers your question.

jbailow | Student
What trends in education are beneficial and which ones are not?

What trends in education are beneficial and which ones are not?

I believe the trend towards implementing technology into the classroom will prove to be beneficial to students and teachers.  We are living in the "Digital Age" and the younger generation is very comfortable and adept with using technology.  It seems as though teachers are more resistant and rely on the traditional methods of engaging students.  With so many resources available through the implementation of technology schools across the U.S should at least explore the notion.

 

I don't believe that paying teachers based on student performance will prove to be beneficial.  Teachers often have little control of where they teach and who they teach.  First year teachers are placed in the lower socio-economic communities and have less resources to work with.  It is unfair to start looking at standardized testing as a measure of teacher success,

ciprian | Student

Keeping boys engaged in activities is a beneficial strategy to boys academic development. Having boys sitting all the time at sendentary task deminishes their morale and demotivates them to learn. Boys need more tactile resources to develop analytical thinking.

One of the most negative trends is a standardized test for an entire country. What achild is exposed to or learns in region may not be what another learns in other regions. therfore some one will be at a disadvantage. The curriculum may not be taught in the same way or the same sequence.

 

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