Most current schooling models are heavily focused on rubric-based grading and standardized testing — much to the shared unhappiness of teachers, parents, and students alike. On one hand, these cut-and-dry methods make it “easy” to gauge achievement against one standardized set of metrics. It is, in theory, a way to gauge knowledge and chart improvements year over year. It’s also a way to compare students on the same level, to see that everyone is where they should be according to the metrics.
On a much more important level, though, there is a lot of growth that happens during the school day that is not and cannot be measured by a standardized test. Anyone who has taken one of those tests can attest to how little depth of information actually comes from them. It’s a way to distill a person down to super-basic information, but it’s not the most effective way to gauge a child’s needs or struggles. Enter whole child education.
What Is Whole Child Education?
As the name implies, whole child education is a new approach to education that is intended to do more than just teach children specific tenets of knowledge — it’s a way to teach and nurture growth based on each student’s needs. And while this ideology speaks to teaching based on each child’s needs and learning styles, it also includes a broader scope than traditional models of education. Specifically, whole child education looks at all of a child’s needs and abilities to inform their education plan.
Why Whole Child Education Matters
The idea behind whole child education is to even the playing field, so to speak. The underlying tenets of this methodology include looking at a child’s physical well-being as well as their mental health, and doing as much as possible with that information to create the right learning environment for all students. As a very basic example, a student who is hungry will have a much harder time focusing on the lesson that one who has had a filling, nutritious meal. Also consider that a child who is being bullied is far less likely to perform well if they sit near their bully in the classroom. Whole child education looks at all aspects of a student’s life and how their needs are or are not being met.
The idea behind whole child education is, essentially, to provide better education. But “better education” is a really broad, nebulous term — because “better education” doesn’t just mean cramming students’ minds with even more knowledge, it means teaching them the skills to handle life. Whole child education looks at ways to teach non-cognitive skills (like social skills, civic participation, etc.) alongside other cognitive knowledge.
One ongoing struggle with the whole child educational model is figuring out what each student’s needs are. This is where Bloomsights comes in. Our student assessment tools give students a way to quickly and easily provide insight into their social and emotional wellbeing, which you as teachers and school leaders can then take an work with to gauge class/school culture and make adjustments. Want to learn more? Connect with Bloomsights today!