The Importance of Structure in Education

See also: Teaching Skills

Structure is a key component of early childhood education. It allows teachers to create a framework for what they want their students to learn and how they should go about doing so.

Without structure, it would be nearly impossible for educators to get through the day-to-day tasks that are required of them.

 

There are three main components of good educational structure:

  • Curriculum
  • Lesson plans
  • Homework and revision

Structure is also important to keep students on track and prevent them from feeling like they are falling behind. Especially at such a young age, students need to be helped along by teachers and students as much as possible rather than having all the pressure on them to take responsibility for their learning.

Even as adults, time management can be difficult - so, when it comes to time management and a structured education, here is what you need to know.

Curriculum

One of the most important parts of an education is curriculum. Curriculum helps students to look at their learning in a wider context, taking into account what they are being taught and how it can be applied outside of school.  It also allows teachers to create a good structure for their classes, organising what they want students to learn and when. A clear curriculum process helps with this greatly.

A good curriculum structure will take into account key concepts within the subject, and hoe this is developed and sequenced over time as students progress through school. An example of this in the UK is the National Curriculum, which outlines what students should learn at every age level.

An effective curriculum should also be flexible enough to meet individual needs of different learners along with their teachers' abilities to teach certain skills/strategies. Teachers need to give lessons that have been well-researched and based on evidence from previous years' results. Different students have different learning styles, so what works for one may not work for another, and the teacher needs to address this in the curriculum.

Lesson Plan

When it comes to lesson plans, they should be simple and concise. Clarity is key. It should be clear what the aim of a lesson is, who it's aimed at and any pre-requisite knowledge that students may need to have before they walk into the classroom. A good structure for this would be organising lessons around key concepts within a topic. For example, if you're teaching about space travel in history, then one day could focus on the race to space in the 20th Century, another day could be about how people are trying to survive on Mars.

Lesson plans need to set out the main objectives of each class, as well as how much time is available per topic or task. This allows students (and teachers) to see exactly what's expected from them in any given week, month or term. Teachers can then use this information to structure their classes and lessons in a way that's going to get the best results. This includes deciding what type of teaching and learning methods they should use, as well as how much time is given to each activity.



Homework and Revision

Homework is an important part of learning, but it needs to be set out clearly from the beginning of each term or school year. It should be set out in a way that's going to benefit students and not cause them unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Homework also needs to have clear objectives, so the student knows exactly what they need to achieve before handing it back in. If teachers can get this right, then it sets up a good foundation for the rest of their school year, which will make their job a lot easier. Students need time at home for revision and parents also appreciate knowing what they should expect from them when they come home. It's also important to consider the time of year, as some students do better with longer breaks and others with more frequent breaks throughout their school term.

Children should not necessarily be expected to manage their own revision - it’s up to the teacher to monitor their progress and support the students who are struggling. If a child becomes overwhelmed by the need to do revision in their own time, they may start feeling like they can’t keep up or that their learning capabilities are below the rest of the class. This might cause them to fall even further behind, so it’s important for the teacher to check in with each student rather than expect them to manage it themselves.

Maintaining Structure in an Online Learning Environment

In recent years, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced online learning to replace a number of in person activities. It can be difficult to maintain structure in an online environment when there aren’t as many rules or guidelines in place. In addition to sticking to standardized learning frameworks and approaches that would apply in the physical classroom, teachers need to set out deadlines and goals clearly from the beginning, as well as provide students with any additional information they need. This might include links to lessons or videos that will help them learn new skills and concepts, as well as behavioral management approaches and motivational strategies.

Some tips for increasing structure and engagement in an online environment include:

  • Start with a plan - Think about what your students will need to engage with their learning on this platform. How can you make it as easy as possible for them to find and access resources?

  • Be consistent and clear - Move forward with topics in a consistent, organised fashion. Don’t jump around between key ideas too much and reiterate everything more than you usually would.

  • Set reasonable expectations - Some students may struggle with the change to online learning and will need time to adjust.

Maintaining a good educational structure is essential for both online and offline learning experiences. When it comes to young, disadvantaged or even disabled children, the more they are given in terms of guidance and support from their teachers/parents/caregivers - the better chance they have of succeeding later in life.


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