Contemporary Topics in Education
Professional development opportunities, in-service training and advanced university classes provide the faculty at The Summit Country Day School with resources that create an active learning community. Educators stay up-to-date on new theories about effective teaching and learning strategies. The links below provide more information about a few contemporary topics in education:
Learning Styles: While the notion that people learn differently has been understood for many years, educators and psychologists now have a better handle on how to teach to people who are visual, auditory or tactile learners. See The Summit’s Guide to Learning Styles with related links.
21st Century Learning: The Summit’s investment in computer technology, including classroom Promethean smart boards, puts it ahead of many other schools when it comes to 21st century learning. UCLA professor Douglas Kellner predicts the technological revolution will have a greater impact on society than the transition was from an oral to print culture. Technological advancement in the classroom will change how teachers teach and learners learn. Teachers will be challenged to maintain children’s interest, take advantage of multimedia devices and online resources and be adaptable to learning that takes place outside the formal school day. Read more on this topic at 21st Century Schools.
Inquiry-based Learning: Traditionally, teaching has been conducted by a teacher who stands in front of a classroom to lecture, assign homework, review homework and then test. Through inquiry-based learning, many teachers at The Summit are helping students take control of their learning. Students respond to prompts from their teachers, ask their own questions and research the answers. As a result, students not only learn the curriculum, they learn how to learn. Read more on this topic at InquiryLearn or Thirteen: Ed Online.
Differentiated Instruction: In the classroom, differentiation allows teachers to be more flexible by adapting the curriculum for the abilities and interests of individual children. Differentiation may be helpful for children who do not fit the “mold” -- children with special needs, children for whom English is not the first language and gifted children. Working alone or in task-oriented groups, differentiation allows children to learn at their own pace. Gifted children tackle more challenging activities. ASCD, formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, offers a study guide on differentiation.
Mindfulness: While the technological revolution has created an explosion of tools and resources which can be used to enhance education, it also has created a wide array of distractions for students who are overbooked with afterschool activities and sports. The practice of mindfulness is being explored as a way to help children focus and pay attention in school. To read more on the advocacy of mindfulness, explore the Association for Mindfulness in Education Web site.
Neuroplasticity: The ability of the brain to change neural pathways based on new experiences is neuroplasticity. New research on learning and memory offers insight into how brains develop and continued change throughout a person’s lifetime. To read more about neuroplasticity, see this article called “Brain Plasticity: What Is IT?” on the University of Washington Web site.