Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Educational Trends and Terms

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
In America, educational trends and thinking don’t evolve. Instead, they tend to swing like a pendulum or cycle back and forth. To see a good example, just look at the writings of John Dewey from the early 1900s. 

Regardless of these swings, it is important for afterschool leaders to keep up on “new” educational trends and related terms. Below are some new terms and their definitions, as well as some resource links to learn more. 

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Trauma-informed practice involves adults recognizing the high likelihood that some (or many) youth participants have or are currently experiencing trauma. Skillful adult mentors possess a basic understanding of how trauma can impact children’s behavior and development and they strive to organize a program that is sensitive to the vulnerabilities and triggers of trauma survivors. 

They focus on providing a safe, supportive environment to promote healing from trauma and healthy development so youth may not only survive, but also thrive. They orchestrate activities and form networks of care aimed at restoring a sense of belonging to young people, their families and communities. (Dr. Marnie Curry, UC Santa Cruz)

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Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings,1994).

Some of the characteristics of culturally responsive teaching are:

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Restorative justice aims to shift the conversation away from how a punitive legal system can enact retribution on an offender and instead looks to help the offender make reparations to their community, usually through justice mediation, counseling, or even reparations. (Scott Johnson, Social Solutions)

Competency-based learning is a student-centered approach to instruction and assessment where students advance upon mastery of a set of skills and knowledge as they progress through their education. (AYPF, Forum for Thought Blog)

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Personalized Learning is student-centered education that involves a significant amount of student voice and choice. Personalized Learning can be broken down into five principles: competency-based learning, flexible learning, student-driven learning, dispositions for learning, and authentic learning. (Center for Collaborative Education)

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. (

Character education addresses many tough issues in education while developing a positive school climate. Educators from a diverse array of schools have transformed their school cultures, reduced discipline referrals, increased academic achievement for all learners, developed global citizens, and improved job satisfaction and retention among teachers.Character education includes and complements a broad range of educational approaches such as whole child education, service learning, social-emotional learning, and civic education. All share a commitment to helping young people become responsible, caring, and contributing citizens. (

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