Posted November 24, 2020
With the Master of Education degree at Salem University, we offer two different tracks: Educational Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction. In a recent blog post, we discussed the challenges facing school principals and other leadership positions, but those who choose instead of specialize in honing the art of teaching itself are also facing unique opportunities to lead the way into a challenging new decade of education. 2020 has started off with a pandemic that shook many of the foundations of our classrooms and how we educate students. It’ll take fresh insight and outside-the-box thinking in order to repair many of those cracks, depending on which area of curriculum and instruction you choose to concentrate your studies in.
Even before COVID-19 hit, there were worrying signs of strain on the college and university system in the U.S., from skyrocketing tuition costs to burdensome student debt to student and campus safety. All of these issues are likely to be front and center, in particular during the first part of this decade, and it will be vitally important for higher education to have strong administrators who can create solutions and implement important policies.
In a study by the Journal of Social Studies Education Research (JSSER), one of the five primary issues influencing modern curriculum and instruction that the authors highlighted was the effect of emerging new technologies. The pace of tech continues to power forward, and it’s more important than ever that there are educators who can lead the charge in figuring out how to harness and implement it in order to better our classrooms, especially in a world where online learning might become a consistent option rather than an emergency backup.
Modern education systems have grown far beyond the one-room schoolhouses of old, and these days, district success isn’t just about getting a qualified teacher in a classroom. It’s about being able to assess where districts and schools have personnel needs, finding candidates who are a good match for those roles, and — perhaps most importantly — training them, onboarding them, and managing both the individuals and the teams AS A WHOLE SO THAT EVERYONE IS SET UP FOR SUCCESS.
As our knowledge of the human brain expands, it becomes more apparent than ever that we have to expand our vision what it means to meet student needs. Special education as a field now encompasses a wide range of students who require varying degrees of emotional, social, and education support, and it will need leaders who combine both ingenuity, compassion, and empathy in order to ensure that no child is truly left behind.
The many moving parts of U.S. education in 2020 mean that sometimes there is a disconnect between who makes the decisions and who is tasked with implementing them. No one is a better advocate for today’s teachers than a fellow teacher, and it takes special skill to be able to communicate effectively with school, district, and community leadership in a way that clearly defines your group’s goals and gets you on the path to achieving them.
In that JSSER study, the authors found that the number one factor facing today’s schools is “unprecedented demographic changes.” They wrote that, “…schools must change the structures, culture, and programs of curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of a diverse student body.” Nationwide, we are shifting rapidly — demographically, economically, socially. Even how we view the past is being altered by widespread reckonings on race and inequality. This just scratches the surface of the ways in which teachers will have to take on new perspectives and new learning methods in their classrooms.
The one thing that’s extremely clear is that this new decade of education in the U.S. is going to take leadership at every level — from kindergarten to college, the classroom to the district office — in order to make good on our promise and our passion: to help every student achieve their very best.
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