1. Falling Behind
Even just a decade ago, students who required extra help were often written off and allowed to graduate. Those students often struggled in the workforce because they were unable to read, write, or perform moderate arithmetic to a satisfactory degree for employers. The reason for their falling behind may have been due to a learning disability that was, as then, not understood well or even realized. It may have been due to a lack of resources for a tutor. It may have even been due to an oversight on the teacher's behalf.
Nowadays, students who are falling behind are given far more support. In most cases, they just need a tutor. However, not all schools have the resources available to help tutor those students. That's where technology has really shined. With online courses like Khan Academy, students have access to online tutors that can assist them with their learning. While they may not have been able to find a tutor that they were able to make a connection with in their own school, they may find one online that can teach them in a way that actually helps them to learn and understand the material or subject.
Even students who perform quite well but require help even on one question can find aid online. Not only does this help them learn and understand, but it also instills in them a sense of independence. They are encouraged to seek the answers to their problems instead of not applying themselves at all and just chalking it up to be too difficult for them.
With the huge source of online tutors at their fingertips, the challenge of falling behind has been virtually removed. While there may still always be cases where students fall through the cracks, by and large, students are able to compound their understanding due to the online world of tutors in the age of technology that they live in.
2. Misunderstanding Learning Disabilities
A lot of focus has been directed towards Autism and the Autism spectrum. While many people still believe that there is a single Autistic case, that isn't the reality. Autism is more of a spectrum than anything else. Students can fall on it in any direction. However, the good news is that more understanding of the spectrum has equipped teachers with better knowledge of how to teach children who fall on the spectrum.
In some cases, they may need a little extra help or a certain kind of teaching in order to learn. In other cases, they can be taught just the same as a student who doesn't fall on the spectrum. It also has helped teachers understand that their roles don't typically start and end with instructing children on how to read and solve math problems. They are often the ones called upon to help teach children how to socialize properly.
In the case of those who fall on the Autism spectrum, this can sometimes be quite a challenge. With further research on the spectrum, however, teachers are more equipped than ever to do what they do best--teach. The challenge here is that before Autism was understood or even considered, they were often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.
With the current understanding of Autism, students can now either be properly medicated to help them focus and stay on task--or to stay relaxed in an intensely social environment--or to be given the right kind of environment with the right kind of teaching method for them to succeed just the same as anyone else. Essentially, those who suffered from learning disabilities are understood better.
While more research certainly is needed to further reach those kids and help them develop, the challenge that many of those kids with learning disabilities faced have been limited to an incredible degree. Further progress will continue to break down that challenge until is removed entirely.
3. Boring Learning
An interesting challenge that is being transformed even now, is the method in which teaching is performed. For many students, reading and performing seemingly endless drills isn't exactly the best way to learn. Instead of engaging them in learning, they become bored and disinterested in the subject entirely. Nowadays, in order to get their students interested in the subject, teachers have turned to games.
There has been a lot of research and interest expressed in the concept of making learning a game. With technology as a part of students lives as ever, games fit right in with tech-wired psychology. Although games were primarily used in young education, they're steadily making their way into middle and high schools, too.
Students have often found that they perform and understand lessons better when they're being taught through a game. This is because they're actively engaged in the lesson and enjoying themselves. Instead of being bored, in which their mind is more or less shut off and not taking in the information as well as the teacher might like, they're actively engaged and finding the learning experience an enjoyable one.
With more teachers including games into their curriculum, the challenge of being disinterested or even falling asleep in class will decrease and, perhaps, be removed entirely. Universities will be the true test to see how gaming can help even college-aged students learn and retain information better.
4. Unhealthy Lunches
For many students, a challenge that they faced at lunch was unhealthy choices. In some cases, students didn't even have lunch. While it is an unfortunate statistic, the truth is, some students rely on that lunch meal from their school to feed them. For certain families, they are unable to afford food regularly. In this case, the student's only meal came from the lunchroom itself.
With more schools taking on the lunch budget themselves and keeping lunch free for all students, this has given students the chance to eat well at least once a day. While schools can only so much to change the student's home life, they can provide them a safe place with food for at least one meal. This has removed the challenge for some students who go hungry at home because those free lunches ensure they are fed at least once a day.
It also gives them better nutrition than they may receive at home. With many schools turning towards lunches packed full of fruits, vegetables, and at least one form of meat or carb-filled food item, a student can receive at least basic nutrition with their meal. For students who don't have a healthy diet at home, the school can provide at least one to better their health.
While technology and learning more about learning disabilities may present new challenges, they, too, can be removed. Every year can bring about change.