When it comes to providing your students with an enriching, successful educational experience, every teacher knows it’s not simply enough to stick with the source material. In fact, what makes teachers great is their ability to go beyond the curriculum, inspiring and encouraging their students with other engaging activities.
Whatever your subject of choice, or area of expertise, there’s never any doubt that educators are a staple part of the healthy development of students. From their academic learning to their communications and social skills, providing children with a balanced learning experience offers plenty of reward over time.
For educators who enjoy going above and beyond for their students or those that are always looking for new ways to engage their class, teaching beyond the curriculum is a must.
Here are just a few ways to achieve that goal:
For students facing difficulties or requiring emotional support in or outside of their school life, simply keeping up with a lesson can be too much. By employing more effective empathy as part of teaching, you can provide those students with a safe space to learn – and offer them further development of their emotional selves.
Allowing students to develop emotional coping skills based on raising concerns and emotions, creating supportive spaces and educating other classmates about appropriate responses are all vital elements of restorative circles. Allowing students to interact and feel heard can significantly enhance their experience of school in the long run.
With the management of complicated emotions as important to a child’s future as their math or literary ability, restorative circles are a vital way to teach beyond the books. For students struggling in traditional schooling as a result of emotional problems or issues at home, this method of education is a must.
A uniquely designed and formulated form of learning, inquiry-based learning turns the concept of the curriculum on its head, instead focusing on student-led development and education. Rather than memorizing facts and figures, students are encouraged to become invested and involved with their subject matter, prompting greater curiosity and a better desire to learn.
Based on the principle that diverse perspectives and collaboration are a must for productive and meaningful learning, inquiry-based models can bring something entirely new to students. Whereas traditional textbooks or activities encourage solo working or education in a vacuum, with inquiry-based strategies included in a lesson plan, students are afforded far more freedom to find their own academic voice.
Innovative and exploratory, inquiry-based learning as a practice may seem too extreme for many education facilities; but focus its use on project work and less facts-based learning, and your students will soon be developing skills that a strict curriculum just can’t provide.
For students, the importance of team-building and collaboration can’t be overstated. While many schools do include sports or group projects in their curriculum, going above and beyond that to encourage students to work together to develop vital communication and collaboration skills is a must.
Active learning has fast become an important part of modern teaching, and with the correct methods and theory, just about any activity can offer the chance to learn something new.
Some of the best team-building activities for students include:
- Don’t wake the dragon – requiring concentration, quiet communication and working as a team, this classic game can be ideal for younger students. With the task of not waking the dragon, working together to solve a problem can be enjoyable for all involved.
- If you build it – another classic team-building activity ideal for students, in this game students are encouraged to compete as part of a team to create a variety of different projects. With projects ranging from building castles using cardboard to making bridges from pipe-cleaners, there are plenty of practical options to pick from.
- Zoom – a circle-based game, students have to work together and use their listening and memory skills to add more each time to an ongoing story, utilizing photos, colors or even toys to tell an increasingly more wild and entertaining tale that everyone takes part in.
The idea of team-building is to provide the foundation students need for more structured work later in life; whether it’s educational project-based work or even as part of further education further down the line. These vital skills aren’t just useful in the classroom; they’re essential for life in general.
While modern schools often have a very structured environment when it comes to the standard curriculum, offering children space to breathe and room to explore is vital to providing them with a well-rounded educational experience. Focusing on introducing critical thinking to students, as well as offering new ways to learn, self-directed learning takes education to a whole new level.
Problem solving and decision making are both incredibly important factors when it comes to the development of children, and providing more engaging and active ways to weave this into your lesson plan can only benefit your students – encouraging them to question, expand their knowledge and develop new insight into what they already know.
Learning outside the box is rarely a bad thing for students. Self-directed learning can provide the tools needed to allow students to really step outside the restraints of academic education. For more fulfilling, exciting and engaging teaching, those concepts aren’t optional.
For younger students, where critical thinking and team-building are more advanced aspects of learning, self-regulation can be an excellent place to start thinking outside the box, providing them with guidance beyond what the average curriculum offers. Providing discipline, consistency, and functionality to children who need support, such as those with ACEs, can prove invaluable to this process.
By employing practical yet straightforward regulation methods, such as using music and rhythm or even sensory elements, teachers can give their students the first tools they need to succeed in education. Sensory baths, singing bowls, and movement all play a part in providing the foundations to students who need that added support.
While a typical curriculum for younger students will focus on reading and writing, these strategies can provide students with the coping methods needed to ensure they can maintain focus and understanding of an increasingly complex subject matter. For these students, teaching beyond the curriculum is a necessity to help them succeed.