PBL. CBA. AT. SBA. UDL. UBD. Flipped Learning. Coding. Maker spaces. Gamification. Learner agency. The list of acronyms and keywords for the latest trends in education can be mind-boggling to even the most seasoned of teachers. How's a teacher to choose?!
By following their passion. Good teachers are the ones who enjoy what they do and do a good job of it. Great teachers are the ones who love what they do and bring their passion in to the classroom, enriching the lives of their students with every new activity.
My passion is reaching those learners who are struggling, unmotivated and losing their passion for learning. To do this, I need many tools in my arsenal, including ones (like gamification) that will have to sit on the back-burner until I can wrap my head around them. But the trend (if you can call it that, it's really more of a philosophy) that I always get excited about is Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Using the principles of UDL ensures that all learners can access and learn from any lesson, no matter what trendy way of presenting it or grading it is used. Think PBL is the best way to reach all of your students? Go for it. Pretty sure gamification will do it? Have at 'er. As long as you have multiple ways of accessing the material and ways of showing what you know that respect the diversity of learning styles and needs, you have a great lesson founded in the principles of UDL.
As for me, I will always be exploring the latest trends and cool ideas. Some, like using social media in the classroom, I will jump in to with both feet; others will take me a little bit more time to wrap my head around. Anything I can use to hook reluctant readers and writers, inspire budding mathematicians and promote critical thinking will usually find it's way in to my teaching at some point. After all, if it's fun for them, it's probably fun for me too! No matter what, though, I will always be looking at these trends through the lens of UDL; if it excludes anyone (intentionally or not) or makes it more difficult for them to learn, it just isn't the right choice for me.
If you're interested in learning more about Universal Design for Learning, may I suggest you check out CAST.org, UDLResource.com and UDLCentre.org all of which provide excellent explanations and resources to help you out.
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about literacy, collaborative teaching and finding new and innovative ways to engage & motivate all kids. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!