As we move through 2022, we’re looking ahead to the coming year for schools and students. Change is constant as we learn more and as the needs and preferences of society as a whole evolve over time.
In recent years, technology has been driving change in the classroom. The need for better STEM education has also been recognized and addressed by schools across the nation. This year, however, technology isn’t the only emphasis in the classroom: mental health is also a subject of urgency as students continue to live under the shadow of an ongoing pandemic.
With these priorities in mind, here are some changes we might see in schools next year.
How Education is Evolving
Obviously, the pandemic changed a lot about education over the last two years. With many students required to learn remotely, the use of laptops, tablets, and other devices has increased. Even with children largely back in the physical classroom, technology is changing the way students learn and teachers instruct. Ultimately, learning is becoming more student-led and geared around problem-solving.
Using technology more frequently in the classroom does have a learning curve. Most students and teachers alike struggled with fully remote learning during the pandemic. Now that most schools have opened up in person, teachers are adjusting to incorporating more technology into their lesson plans, especially for students who may have to quarantine.
Additionally, many schools are beginning to recognize the complex mental and emotional health needs of students. This is making education much more personalized and could help students who might fall behind due to different learning styles or mental health concerns.
Incorporating Mindfulness in Classrooms
Because the past few years have been extremely stressful, some teachers have begun to introduce effective stress management techniques into the classroom. Mindfulness practices are great for kids because they offer many benefits, are easy to learn, and can be done anywhere. Knowledge of mindfulness practices is increasing, making it likely that more teachers will begin to use these tools in the classroom.
Creating consistent mindfulness routines at school can help students focus and improve their social and emotional skills. Simple mindfulness practices over time can help students who are struggling with stressful life experiences, but they can also be beneficial for students who are in more stable situations. There’s really no downside, and mindfulness can help children regulate their emotions and feel calmer overall.
Mental Health Screenings for Students
In the past, mental health services have largely been designed for adults. While we’d like to believe that children don’t suffer from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, this simply isn’t the case. Many children suffer from mild to severe mental health concerns, which often go undetected.
One positive trend in education is an increase in mental health screenings for students of all ages. Not only do these screenings allow educators to recommend mental health services when appropriate, but they can provide information for personalizing the learning process. These screenings can also ensure that any concerns are caught quickly and treated right away.
Augmented Reality & Gamified Learning for Better Knowledge Retention
Over the years, education has evolved from using rote memorization of facts to interactive educational experiences. This shift has created more dynamic thinkers and more interesting lessons, but there is still room for improvement. Technology is helping to push learning forward even more.
Augmented reality is one technology that has proven to be extremely effective in the classroom for improved learning and retention. AR in the classroom is a great way to build engagement and get students excited about learning.
Children are naturally drawn to play. That’s why video games are such a draw! By harnessing that natural love for play and “gamifying” the learning process, teachers can make learning more fun and reduce resistance in the classroom. It’s no fun for kids to sit around all day, and they aren’t likely to retain information when they’re bored. Gamification can help to increase subconscious recall for better retention.
Tailoring Education to Students
In the past, education was mostly designed to be as convenient for the teacher as possible and to teach children how to behave. Today, educators are moving toward more personalized, dynamic lessons aimed at helping kids to problem-solve, think critically, and gain confidence.
As we continue to learn more about what helps kids learn, we will continue to improve teaching methods and help all students blossom. In the next year, a focus on well-being and technology will help prepare kids for their future lives.