Educational Trends to Watch in 2019

Education is constantly changing, especially with the addition of new teachers – new ideas, classroom updates, the latest research and technological advances, every year is different. So what new trends are on the horizon in 2019, which may come to our communities and schools? That’s a big question, and of course – we’re each probably hoping for something, but these four trends are building momentum across America.

1. No More Snow Days. With today’s technology, most students can be productive and learn at home during a snowstorm, so varying schools across the country are trading “snow days” for some form of remote schooling experience. In Camden and Rockport, Maine as of December 1st – they’re piloting a program where they trade two snow days for two “Remote School Days.” Other school districts in Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania among others have already started experimenting with some form of remote learning solution. Of course, this doesn’t solve the fact many parents need to take-off, but it may fix the challenge of reworking the school calendar.

2. No Homework (K-5). In an earlier post, I explained the latest research, which shows there is no incremental academic benefit to homework in K-5 (elementary school), but that reading 20 minutes nightly is attributed to reading gains for the young elementary student. What this research finding has spurred is a host of schools nationwide to give no homework in grades K-5 and encourage nightly reading and/or after-school involvement in activities to make friends and develop socially too.

3. More Flexible Seating. Children want choices, which includes the types of chairs they sit in such as standing desks, bucket chairs, large pillows, and café style stools, as examples. Research repeatedly shows that classroom design matters to how children engage, participate and stay involved in their learning experience (Fernandes, Huang & Rinaldo, 2011; Gremmen, Van den Berg, Segers & Cillessen, 2016 and Marx, Fuhrer & Hartig, 1999). Of course, flexible seating isn’t for every educator or school, but the latest findings make a very compelling case, especially if educators have strong classroom management skills. (Learn more).

Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you'll be more available for and connected with your children if you're interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen.

4. Later Start Times (High School). Growing evidence shows that most high school students are sleep deprived as they try to squeeze school, homework, after-school activities and oftentimes college prep into a very long day (NPR, 2018). Researchers at the University of Washington studied Seattle students from two schools that moved their start time from 7:50 am to 8:45 am (2016-2017) with positive results, which recently appeared in the journal Science Advances . In summary, they discovered that students – as a whole, got 34 minutes more of sleep each night, which was also linked to academic improvement and a reduction in tardiness to school.