2019 Preview – How Simple Steps Can Have a Big Impact

A new year means a fresh start for many, and the world of education is no different even though we’re at the mid-way point of the current school year. That’s because January marks the start of planning for the upcoming school year, and administrators will soon decide what lessons, tools and resources will best prepare students for the future.

This is no small challenge. Given that we don’t know what the future will look like as it relates to jobs, careers and even industries, preparing students for the unknown is, well, an unknown. There have been countless attempts to predict what might happen, and what we should teach in preparation, but as yet there is no conclusive data to suggest what the best approach is.

Last year we explored some of the trends that have emerged to address the future of work, such as new teaching methods, new types of schools and the soft skills students could expect to use in careers of the future, regardless of what those careers might be.

Over the course of the year we were introduced to some great ideas and some promising results made up of innovative teaching models and resources, all designed to give students the best chance of success. But we also found that the solution isn’t one dimensional. It’s not just one class or one resources that breeds success, it’s a combination of these, supported by the school, the family and the community.

According to Kevin Bushweller, Executive Editor of EdWeek Market Brief, “the most meaningful education happens outside the school.” That’s not to say that learning doesn’t happen inside the school, but when lessons learned in the class are reinforced in the home or in the community, they have more impact.

Further, given that school curriculum often lags behind the technological advances we see almost daily, students are bound to encounter an abundance of learning opportunities outside the school. The question is how to capitalize on them.

One School, One Community

The number of people who can have an impact on a child’s learning journey is staggering. From educators to extended family, neighbors to coaches, even local professionals, there is no shortage of people who can make a contribution to the next generation. There is, however, a perceived shortage of opportunity. Simply put, most people don’t recognize how they can have an impact.

Parents often don’t realize that encouraging good habits is just as important as helping with homework. Neighbors often don’t realize that a curbside lemonade stand is actually teaching children to think like an entrepreneur. And local businesses often don’t realize that by offering students a glimpse of their operations they can help them see classroom lessons in action.

As a society we tend to downplay our role in the education process because we don’t realize the many ways we can have an impact. By engaging parents, neighbors and local businesses, and positioning the school as a hub of information and activity for the community, schools can change that perception and realize new levels of support and collaboration.

Back to Basics

This year our blog series, One School, One Community, will focus on concepts that can help lay the foundation for good educational habits and practices. Some of these we’ve explored before, such as the importance of communication between all parties involved in a student’s learning journey, and ways to bring the community into the school and engage them in the outcome of its students. Others are new, such as what the science tell us about sleep and screen time as it relates to learning, and the impact social capital has on college success. Our intent is to help educators, parents and the community at large realize how a few simple ideas can have a lasting impact on student success.

Join the Conversation

We have a more sophisticated, authoritative body of science and knowledge than ever before on which to design and deliver breakthrough teaching-and-learning options (Lindquist 2019). But these options must be offered in ways that strengthen community ownership, embolden educators to lead, and equip parents to make informed choices. In a word: engagement. How can you get engaged in your local school community?

References

Binghamton University Staff (2018) – Binghamton University. Benefits of Community Engaged Learning. https://www.binghamton.edu/cce/faculty/engaged-teaching/course-development/benefits.html

Bushweller, K. (2019) – EdWeek.org. The Kids Are Right: School is Boring. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/01/09/the-kids-are-right-school-is-boring.html?fbclid=IwAR0AhKlNafvJ6VW8YS3MC2GsVtNtKnnDiyqbK8HmwI2czx-MHpJLgVikcYI

Lindquist, B. (2019) – Edexcellence.net. Is 2019 The Year Education Reformers Fold or Double Down? https://edexcellence.net/articles/is-2019-the-year-education-reformers-fold-or-double-down

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