New Teaching and Learning Styles

Modern Demands: How Do Teaching Styles Need to Change?

The textbook reading assignment, teacher-student lectures, and hand-written notes are quickly becoming a thing of the past in modern classrooms. These traditional teaching and learning methods are not working for a majority of students in the twenty-first century. What’s changed?

Rapid technological changes over generations have presented new challenges and demands in our society, workforce, and, consequently, our education system. Analytical thinking, innovation, creative problem-solving, and technological proficiency are now skills that are needed in our future workforce. Likewise, students who have grown up in a technological landscape now crave those visual, auditory, and sensory experiences in their learning styles.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent to many that our current “one shoe fits all” teaching styles are outdated. Teachers need to be able to adapt and accommodate diverse learning styles, and students too will need to have more control over their personal learning journey.

Are we setting our future workforce up for failure if teaching styles don’t change? What are skill sets our students need to learn in the classroom now to prepare to be productive members of society later?

One of the most difficult problems faced in today’s education system is teaching effectiveness. Students are absorbing large amounts of surface-level information—that is often quickly disposed of— without interacting with it in a useful way. Differentiated teaching styles as well as the flexibility to adapt are both needed in modern educators.

VARK is an acronym that stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic sensory modes of learning. The VARK model suggests these are the four main types of learners. Students may feel drawn to one particular learning style or enjoy a mix. Every student has a unique, personally-preferred learning style.

Individualizing learning plans for students allows each student to learn and engage with the content in a way that is most beneficial to them. Personalized learning in the classroom tailors itself to each student’s individual needs, strengths, and interests in order for that student to learn at a deeper level.

How can teachers adapt to these different learning styles in the classroom? How can VARK learning styles be incorporated to change different teaching styles? What challenges or obstacles do you foresee?

The goal of transmitting knowledge without rote memorization being the sole focus has started to become more accepted and common. In addition, experts in the education field are asking, “What are we testing for?” Students at all levels are still heavily focused on end results—their score on the test, their rank in the class, or their final grade in the class. As we have seen with many entrepreneurs and innovators, test results do not define you.

Are exams really doing anything beneficial in preparing future members of society? What are your thoughts on the future of student testing? Will it become obsolete or remain in curriculum?

Learning environments focused on experiential learning rather than final test scores encourage students to take that knowledge, interact with it, and think critically about it. Students are becoming partners or “co-creators” of their learning journey.

They are able to partake in experiences that allow collaboration, communication, and teamwork on projects that allow the application of knowledge to real-life scenarios. These learning environments encourage students to be innovative, take risks, and simulate real-life problem-solving. Those in the education field hope this type of learning will help students find their passions, find potential career paths, and learn the ability to persevere and find solutions.

Many experts are pushing for learning to be more focused on experience and collaboration.

What do you think of this new learning environment? What obstacles do you think need to be overcome in order to transition to this type of education system?

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