Many people argue that the UK’s standard systematic approach to learning is not a style that suits everyone. In fact, there are many contemporary styles of learning that are emerging that seem to be more successful in the sense that education is becoming enjoyable and stimulating. This article aims to list several significant teaching trends that are beginning to make an appearance in many schools and early learning centres across the UK, along with how they have impacted the definition of education thus far. There has been various forms of extensive research that has gone in to proving that alternate learning styles can increase the development of a child’s education, this may be the future of our national curriculum.
Co-dependent learning is not an recent phenomena, but there are many modern attributes that have reformed the way we see group activities. Contemporary collaborative learning aims to inspire students to communicate and engage with the lesson in a way that can be both physical and mentally stimulating. Collaborative learning can act as a motivational pull to get children working together in an active learning space. When students are able to work together, their thinking skills increase. They are able to understand, form and criticise different views and opinions or even identify alternate learning patterns that can potentially help them develop when it comes to working as an individual. According to a study from 2014 by ITeach, collaborative learning can ‘promote the development of important life and social skills, including self and mutual respect, organisation, cooperation, negotiation, flexibility, compromise, delegation, accountability and leadership’.
Sensory education is based upon using your primary senses as a tool to help intellectual development. This implies that exercising a child’s senses, from sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste can understand educational processes better. According to a study by Lucid Way, sensory learners are eager to learn but don’t like subjects or lessons that don’t involved a connection to the ‘real-world’. Sensory play and sensory toys are helpful tools for students with autism or learning disabilities due to the user being able to engage with the toys or activities at their own pace.
Flipped learning, or a flipped classroom, is the idea that children begin to learn about a chosen subject before they enter the classroom. The term ‘flipped’ is due to the notion that homework, or at least what it would originally consist of, would no longer be done at home. Alternatively, the teacher can set students work that may have traditionally been set during lesson time. This could be tasks such as gathering research for a particular topic or having group discussions with other students over an online platform that can be monitored by the teacher. This particular learning style is usually implemented within higher education and universities, but can be modified to suit an early learning class. According to Flip Learning, the flipped classroom is an innovative learning style that promotes creativity and motivates engagement to the subject matter.
Bringing technology into the classroom is not a modern teaching trend, but the technological resources we use in schools are constantly evolving. Each year, children are becoming increasingly involved with digital technology, with many designs being created to suit a younger audience. As educators, it is important to remember that although technology can be damaging when not used correctly, the world is now almost reliant on technology, meaning it is important for children to understand and adapt to modern technologies in order to develop socially. You can read more about education and modern technology in one of previous articles here. Technology has helped education become more accessible, search engines such as Google or Bing make it incredibly easy for children to research chosen topics, helping them with their studies or broaden their interests when it comes to education. Interactive whiteboards have been around for decades, but new and improved models are being designed year by year. Elementary Technology offer a range of interactive technologies for schools, and some of the benefits involve; being able to send screenshots of the work you have done throughout the day to your students and parents, along with creating an aesthetically attractive working environment due to the high quality and brightness of the interactive whiteboards. If you’re interested in implementing modern technologies within your learning environment, you can read more about it here.
Flexible Learning and Activity Zones
The traditional set up of the classroom has a common speculation of being dull and restrictive. When you think of a traditional classroom you imagine children sitting quietly at desks in rows. However, this layout is beginning to transform. Flexible learning is based on the notion that seating arrangements should go out the window. Children will no longer be restricted to traditional seating plans. Some children prefer to sit on the floor, stand up for a while or have different seating options such as beanbags. Preferred seating can help motivate learning, children wont feel confined to a small space, helping them stay motivated to learn, calm, and conscious. You can also opt for creating activity zones in which different spaces within your classroom are separated. This could be split by activity, or can be based on student ability.
There are many contemporary learning styles that are beginning to be implemented with schools across the United Kingdom, and these styles are proven to be significantly effective for the non-traditional learner. Experimentation with these learning styles can transform the lives of your students. Learning is no longer copying words from a chalkboard, we are now able to nurture the creativity and innovative thinking patterns that ended being lost in transit due to systematic teaching methods.