Teachers push for change in classroom

BY QUENTIN GRIFFIN

Wadsworth High School is planning educational reform in order to better help students reach their goals in the future.

Today, Wadsworth students are able to attend a school that gives them tools and skills they need to prepare them for their future, but the educational system continues to advance and standards are becoming increasingly difficult.

Students are concerned that these standards and regulations are making it more difficult to prepare them for their chosen career path.

“I wish we were able to have more classes that we will use in everyday life and classes that will better prepare us for our future,” said Mike Movsesian, 10.

Students do not only want to utilize a variety of teaching methods, but also be offered more variety of classes.

“I would like to see more specific medical classes provided in the future that will take place at Wadsworth High School,” said Connor Hallas,10.

In order to improve the current educational system, and to provide students with more “real-world” skills, many revolutionary changes would become necessary. One major alteration is class size.

Reaching almost 30 students per class, it can become a challenge for teachers to see which students need more help. Shrinking class sizes would allow teachers to adapt their teaching styles to fit students’ individual needs. Students do not only want to be taught differently, but also to be exposed to more variety within classes.

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Teachers, such as Mr. Jurey, are trying to revolutionize the classroom environment. Photo by Quentin Griffin

According to a study from Tennessee and commented upon by the Center of the Future of Children research analysts Linda Schuurmann Baker and Eugene M. Lewit, “students in grades K-3 did significantly better on achievement tests when they were in classrooms with 13 to 17 students per teacher than when they were in standard-size classes (22-50 students).”

Smaller class size is not only beneficial in the younger grades, but also the upper grades. Peter Blatchford, Paul Bassett, and Penelope Brown of the Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education in the University of London claim that in “an observational study… in the UK finds that in both the early and later grades, smaller classes leads to students receiving more individual attention from their teachers and having more positive interactions with them… particularly make for struggling students at the secondary level.”

The WHS faculty support smaller class sizes. Many would like to offer the individual attention that many students need, but cannot achieve in a larger class.

“I feel if we are more responsive and focus on the individual needs of the students we can make a greater impact on them,” said Mr. Jurey.

Reducing class sizes will require hiring more teachers. That will add more expenses to the school budget– an often frowned upon solution.

An alternative to increasing faculty size would be creating a more interactive environment classroom. This includes teachers distancing themselves from traditional methods of teaching. Jurey implemented a “teacher-for-a-day” strategy this year to offer a more interactive way to teach class material to his students.

“I’d like to see us get away from everyone doing the same thing. I think installing more things like these will better prepare students and engage them more in the material,” said Jurey.

Wadsworth administration and teachers are trying to tackle these challenges by creating a more student friendly environment and supplying more academic choices.
“In the upcoming years, we look to provide classes to prepare students for different careers and majors,” said Mr. Moore.

WHS plans to add to the already successful engineering program by expanding it to a new, more advanced form of engineering. This will offer students a chance to dive deeper into engineering to see if they are truly interested in the field.

In the future, the administration hopes to be able to provide more college credit within math and English. By providing these classes, students would be able to further their education and complete more college credits in high school.

The addition of more career tech classes would allow students to discover more career opportunities in a safe environment to experiment.

“I would like juniors and seniors being able to have more choice over what classes they take that could benefit them for their future,” said Mr. Jurey.

Not only do teachers see the need to develop students’ classroom experience, but administrators do as well.

“I feel, that there is an awful lot of testing and less focus on application,” said Mr. Moore. “We are trying to focus less on teaching toward the test and focus more on students and their wants.”

Future career tech programs, as well as revolutionized classroom methods, are the future teaching tools of Wadsworth High School. Student success will continue to improve as a more personalized variety of classes are implemented and teaching methods evolve.