The word “standardized” sometimes gets a bad rap in the education world because making everything the same can seem negative when dealing with students. We all know students are different and should be taught differently. But just because something is “standardized” doesn’t mean teachers ignore students’ individual needs. In fact, standardized lessons can actually improve your child’s experience in enrichment classes.
The Benefits of Standardized Lessons
Every enrichment student is taught the same concept.
In an after-school enrichment program, having a standardized lesson means that each class in the same grade and subject is taught the same material for that week. For example, in a 3rd grade math class, the week’s lesson may focus on place value. And all 3rd grade math teachers will be teaching from the same lesson plan. That lesson plan gives them the concept and definition for place value, how to teach the skill, and example problems to use in the classroom. This helps every student in the class move forward to reach the grade’s standards.
Whether you agree with it or not, every student has standards required by the government. These standards state that all students, regardless of their background, school, or any other factor, must learn the same thing in the same school year. If students have standardized lessons in enrichment classes, this ensures that every student is taught the same topics.
With a standardized lesson, parents know what students are learning each week. They can even review the lesson plan themselves to understand what their child is learning for the week, month, or even year. Teachers don’t skip concepts because they’re behind schedule—there is already a curriculum schedule laid out for them that they cannot change. So if students attend regularly and do all the homework, they will cover all the topics required in that year.
Teachers have more time to teach.
With standardized lessons, teachers don’t have to worry about what they are going to teach and instead can focus on how they want to teach it. So often, teachers have to spend an extraordinary amount of time planning: laying out a curriculum schedule, thinking of example problems to teach the concept, creating worksheets for students to complete, etc. When they do this, they have less time to focus on how to teach.
Standardized lessons eliminate the stress from teachers so that they can instead come up with fun and engaging games and activities for students. That can help them individualize the lesson for students who are struggling or who are ready for more of a challenge.
Parents can schedule make-up classes more easily.
Because all students in a certain grade and subject are learning the same thing each week, students can easily miss their normally scheduled class and attend one that fits into their schedule a little better for the week.
Following the 3rd grade math example, a 3rd grade math student can skip their Monday math class and take it on Wednesday instead. Parents can be assured that they won’t miss a concept because each class teaches the same. And if the child needs to change nights and teachers, he or she won’t have to lose time discussing the lesson to be covered because the teacher already knows what topic the student is on.
This offers flexibility to parents, which is certainly appreciated since lives often get hectic and busy.
Teachers can still focus on the individual student.
Standardized lessons doesn’t mean the individual student and his or her needs get lost in the standardization. Teachers are encouraged to teach to students’ individual needs. For example, if a teacher was teaching rounding in 3rd grade math, each teacher might teach the concept differently or play a different game or activity to solidify understanding. It depends on the needs of the students in that classroom.
Teachers can still work one-on-one with students or teach to a whole class of students. As long as the teacher is teaching the ideas from the lesson plan, he or she can teach the class how he or she sees fit.
What is your opinion on standardized lessons? Let us know in the comments!
Becky Adams, Curriculum Manager, A Grade Ahead