3 Ways to Put Balance Back in Education in 2018

Professional Development

3 Ways to Put Balance Back in Education in 2018

By Laurie Guyon     Dec 23, 2017

3 Ways to Put Balance Back in Education in 2018

This article is part of the collection: Reflections From 2017 for the Journey Ahead.

There was a question making the rounds on Facebook recently asking about the biggest shift we educators have seen in the past ten years. The comments mention technology shifts, online and blended learning, active and creative lessons. All of these have been wonderful for our students. But many teachers are concerned about the pace, trends, and screen time our students are exposed to these days. These shifts are happening at a hurricane’s pace without a slowdown in sight.

When I think ahead to 2018, I hope that the greatest new shift is for teachers and students is to find balance.

While all of these new initiatives bring excitement, the purpose of education hasn’t changed. We became educators because we believe in our youth. We see the potential that each and every child holds, and our purpose is to help them shine a little brighter, empower them to build on their strengths, to persevere and to take chances. We offer kindness, security and encouragement every day, to every student. We love coming to school to see their smiles and their growth. Finding balance in our profession will not only help with the shifts of the past 10 years, but will help our students understand how to manage their time and goals.

Here are three ways that balance can be achieved in 2018:

Only assign work that has value

At school, we assign the homework because of the rigors of the curriculum. We want our students to have a quality education that prepares them for the future. Today, students can just search the answer, ask a friend or use their choice of apps to complete their homework. Nothing is gained from homework that is basic repetition, or copy and paste.

Instead, the teacher can assign a task to solve. Students can create tutorials showing how to solve a problem, create a sketchnote or make a list of questions about the topic that they can pose to their peers to solve together. Better yet, make the assignment a realistic, real life scenario that allows students to see how, and why learning the skill is important. These assignments have value and students will build on the required skills they need to be successful not only in their class but in life.

Stop telling students it will ‘look good’ on a resume or college application

Students should be encouraged to follow their dreams, to spend time doing things they are passionate about and to be curious. Students should be the ones asking the questions, exploring the solutions, and trying out new things. If we exposed students to careers, experts in the field and new opportunities, they would have a better idea of what they want to pursue. Their application would be filled with things they enjoy and want to continue to explore.

Besides, if they are posting these experiences on social media, they are building a solid digital footprint that can help them “look good” without even trying.

Set aside time to talk and listen to students

There is so much value in reflection and asking questions. As teachers with crazy busy schedules, we sometimes throw out the fun, the reflection or the hook of a lesson to save time. But the magical moments happen when these become the focus. When students find value in what they are learning, they become engaged in the learning process and they are empowered to drive their own education. Ask a little extra from your students, give them a chance to give you more of themselves and push your students to explore the world around them. It will be amazing to see the world through their eyes.

Considering how busy the past ten years of education have been, it is time for a slowdown. It’s time to find the balance we all crave in everything we do. By putting our focus back on the students, we will find that these shifts, with balance, can create the best educational experiences possible. Our students will be better off for it.

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