The first few weeks of a new school year are always a time of adjustment and many students (and parents) feel a sense of separation anxiety, which is perfectly normal. Separation anxiety in children is often caused by fear of the unknown when it comes to a new situation or it can relate to something that is happening at home or to something that the child has just experienced before arriving at school. No matter what the cause, it is heart-wrenching to everyone involved. As teachers, we need to be able to nurture the child who is upset, provide support to the parents who feel like they are abandoning their child and also, help the other children feel at ease as they may start feeling anxious with seeing one of their classmates so distressed. As a parent of three, I have experienced my own share of back-to-school jitters and it is extremely challenging. It is one of the hardest things to deal with as a parent, and can be very stressful as a teacher as well. Below are a number of strategies I have developed to help parents along the way. Remember, elementary school separation anxiety is a phase; it is perfectly natural and it will pass.
When I was in school, a well-planned, one-size-fits-all lesson was the way we learned. We sat at our tables quietly, listened to our teacher and raised our hand when we had a question. You could usually hear a pin drop, as noise was frowned upon. The teacher was the star of the show, and the students were the audience members. Today, the classroom is made up of an ensemble cast, featuring both the teacher and the students.
With a generation of learners who grew up in an age of the Internet, smartphones and 3-D printers, robotics and computer programming are playing a more important role in educational curricula than ever before.
“Bueller? Bueller?” This is a phrase that crosses the mind of many when they think about school. Students sitting in perfectly aligned rows either hanging on every word the teacher says or their heads down taking a quick nap. In this classroom from the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the teacher stands at the front of the classroom endlessly speaking in a monotonous tone about this and that.
Luckily, classrooms no longer operate in that fashion. New teaching techniques, and advances in technology, have changed the direction of classrooms. Now, “flipped classrooms” are combining that technology and a new style of teaching that placesstudents at the center of learning. Vanderbilt University defines this new type of classroom as a way for students to gain exposure to new material outside of class by reading or viewing lecture videos at home, and using class time for more in-depth knowledge exercises, through problem-solving, discussion or debates.Flipped classrooms are changing and enhancing student comprehension by allowing for student ownership of learning, student-directed learning, as well as easier access to content for both students and parents.