Methods to Increase Learning and Success Among Students
The government is now looking into ways of increasing the learning experience of students they could use in the competetive reality of life. The C. S.
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Mott Foundation suggests that “the time is ripe to shatter the ‘chalk and talk’, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., September to June concept of school, and stretch and reshape learning time in order to improve student achievement” (Stedron 2007).
In his article, “A new day for learning: its time to look at changing the length and scope of the school day to help kids succeed” Jennifer Stedron enumerated some ways to increase students’ learning and explains the advantages of each. Three options were offered: to incorporate summer learning, out-of-school learning or increasing the length of time for a school day or school year.
The advantage of including summer learning programs lies with the additional learning experience for students that can prepare them for the next stage of learning.
Stedron (2007) held that “disadvantaged students tend to fall behind during the summer because of a lack of learning opportunities in the home and community. By fifth grade, this summer slippage accounts for approximately two full years’ deficit in reading comprehension levels.”
The executive director of Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning held that the differences in summer learning “account in part for later educational outcomes” (Stedron 2007).
New Mexico’s Plus Pilot Project, which provides an optional program of at least 40 additional days of school during the summers before and after kindergarten, has resulted with students gaining early literacy skill and social maturity which can considerably prepare them better for the first grade.
Out-of-school activities can also increase students learning experience. “Before- and afterschool programs reinforce the school curriculum and broaden student skills through enrichment activities that might be absent from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.” according to Stedron (2007).
She held that “extra” subjects such as art and music, which have been cut but many schools in favor of the more practical subjects, are “often what keep some children engaged in and attending school” (Stedron 2007).
California Senator Tom Torlakson said that kids get excited about learning and their attachment to school increases since they have to attend school to attend these out-of-school programs.
Aside from getting better results from students, investing on these programs will also generate budget savings for the government. Stedron (2007) used the California After School Education and Safety Initiative program as an example of the advantages of out-of-school programs: “evaluations show increase in student attendance, achievement and good behavior from kids in the programs.
And a 50 percent decrease in students who must repeat grades is saving the state the massive expense of an extra year of education for many students.”
Nothing can increase learning experience better than extending instructional time, which may be through, but not limited to, summer learning or after-school programs.
Stedron, however, stresses that it is not just more school time that the students need. “They need to opportunities to develop creativity and be leaders” (Stedron 2007). For older students, this may include internship programs which give the students time to learn in the real world.
Milt Godlberg, a member of the national Time, Learning, and Afterschool Task Force, believes that “young people are more engaged in learning and are more motivated when activities are not restricted by the traditional classroom structure” (Stedron 2007). Education should, after all, not be confined within the four corners of the classroom, but must also incorporate the realities of life.
Stedron has given profound insights about the topic. Although the claims are not supported by statistical evidences, she has provided a convincing argument by providing student reactions and comparisons with the traditional way of learning.
Increasing learning experience, not just academically but socially, will benefit the students by also increasing their knowledge, skill, and competetiveness, all of which will consequentially increase their chances of achievement and success.
Stedron, J. (2007). A new day for learning: Its time to look at changing the length and scope of the school day to help kids succeed.