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Trends in PreK-12 Curriculum and Instruction

Teachers and educators work hard to create curriculums that suit student needs, pouring hours into the training, research, and creation processes. However, as education experts have learned more about the many different learning needs and types of support students deserve, educators have gained a greater understanding that no single curriculum can reach all students with the same level of effectiveness. This equation has been further thrown out of balance thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerated influx of technology, and increasingly diverse student populations.

Programs like the Emporia State University online Master of Science (M.S.) in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) – Curriculum Leadership PreK-12 program equip educators to anticipate and respond to student needs and industry trends. For instructors who want to improve student outcomes, staying on top of the latest methods in curriculum and instruction practices is more crucial than ever. The educational landscape can change rapidly, and educators can keep their classroom practices relevant and resonant by monitoring new trends.

While research is important, not all practices are going to be appropriately suited for every classroom. But by remaining in the know of popular new educational techniques, teachers can choose the most appropriate and helpful strategies for their students.

Consider some of the notable trends and strategies among instructors in PreK-12 classrooms.

Mastery-Based Grading

Under traditional grading scales and rubrics, grades reflect many aspects of a student’s performance in the classroom, some unrelated to their academic achievements, such as tardiness, misbehavior, and missing homework. With mastery-based grading, those factors would not affect grades.

As explained by the online education resource, this approach measures how effectively the students have developed their knowledge and how well they apply course concepts. The idea is for teachers to evaluate students’ proficiency levels and address other behaviors on their own terms, allowing students “to practice skills they haven’t yet mastered and avoid becoming discouraged.”

Online Learning

Introducing students to online learning strengthens their digital citizenship. However, online learning also offers educators a robust tool chest to enhance their lessons.

Substantial online resources provide new dimensions for instruction. Instructors can interact in real-time in various ways beyond simple classroom discussions, differentiate response activities, and deliver quick, clear student feedback. Even simple instructional tools can go a long way toward freeing teachers’ time and enhancing their students’ classroom experience.

Trauma-Informed Practices

Context is always crucial in any situation. For students, “context” means their background — knowing how their past and upbringing might affect them in the classroom.

For some students, the effects of their backgrounds can be more negative than others. Trauma-informed practices are “any intervention designed to respond to the unique needs of children who have experienced trauma,” according to The goal is to create an atmosphere where those children can feel seen, understood, and protected.

Trauma literacy is a unique skill, but it ties in closely with students’ social-emotional and mental health needs. Educators should ensure these lessons are ongoing to be effective and do not simply stop at a single day of practice, as noted in K-12 Dive. Unfortunately, due to staffing shortages and the difficulty of making assessments, SEL and trauma-informed practices are still not as ubiquitous in schools as many educators would like.

Now more than ever, schools need leaders who can effectively address student needs, choose an appropriate structure, and help to implement those systems. An online M.S. in C&I – Curriculum Leadership PreK-12 from Emporia State University gives graduates the know-how needed to adapt to challenges and trends in education. The program prepares educators who aspire to coordinate the design, implementation, management, and evaluation of instructional practices online and in the classroom.

Learn more about the Emporia State University online M.S. in C&I – Curriculum Leadership PreK-12 program.

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