From the three Rs to robotics in the classroom, modern education is constantly evolving. We quizzed education professionals to find out what they think are the hot topics and top trends in education today
Measurable and immeasurable
“The increasing impact of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results and moving up rankings is a worldwide trend.
“We’re seeing an increasing fixation with empirical data, such as results, and PISA rankings as a way of proving that education works. Education is becoming increasingly measured, and increasingly prescriptive as a result.
“Those are important, but the immeasurable stuff in many ways is more important for the future of your child and their ability to engage with the world.”
– Brendan Lawn, headmaster, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Innovation is key
“The word innovation gets used a lot with technology, but when we go back to it, innovation is doing new things. You can use technology really effectively – but you don’t have to.
“Any approach a teacher uses that promotes inquiry, reflection, critical thinking and problem solving skills is what I think is the way that innovative approaches need
“We’re in a knowledge-rich society, so the biggest trend is supporting the children to be consumers of that knowledge, and then to use and apply it.
“Seventy percent of jobs our children are being prepared for won’t exist, so they’ve got to be able to have transferable skills.”
– Michelle Forbes, director of special projects, Aldar Academies
Children taking ownership of learning
“Children are taking more ownership of their learning. They all learn at different paces and have different interests, so the information that’s now available means that the teacher cannot physically know everything.
“The teacher’s role has changed now – they know what needs to be taught in the curriculum but the answers may vary greatly because of the amount of information we’re able to access.”
– Mark Leppard, headmaster, British School Al Khubairat
“We’re teaching children today for unknown jobs of tomorrow – so we’re teaching them to apply their skills rather than facts and for that we’re using real-life situations to teach.
“We’re seeing a lot more of an impulse towards a cross-curricular approach, so children are learning a theme, rather than maths or science lessons separately.”
– Barbara Lubaczewska, principal, Amity International School
“Five years ago, the big trend was making education available to all. That period is over, and now it’s moving into personalised plans for each individual child.
“You see this particularly through the use of online portals. Children can log in, see their homework and return it to the teacher, while parents can communicate and see grades. It’s an example of when technology in schools works very well.
“Now that schools have caught up in implementing this idea, it can only go further – for example, if a child is struggling with a topic in maths, the teacher can set extra homework.
“But I caution against an over-reliance on it. Classroom teaching can never be replaced, and at some point that extra interface is needed to get through a hurdle – that’s when teaching becomes great.”
– Christopher Gyngell, manager, Carax Education Abu Dhabi