Should Grants Be Awarded to School Districts that Try Innovative Methods to Improve Student Achievement?
Education is an ever growing field of study as it not only includes the development of new teaching methods and the integration of new subject material and technology in all academic areas, but it serves a diverse and expanding body of learners with their own special educational needs. The goal of education in America is to efficiently provide every citizen with an adequate education that gives them the power to be involved in their society along with the opportunity to reach their greatest potential.
Furthermore, education requires initiatives that help teachers and the educational system, as a whole, improve drastically to meet the ever changing demands of modern times. Meanwhile, schools that are willing to adopt innovative instructional methods need to be encouraged and, because funding constraints are a reality, the federal and state government can provide grants to help schools innovate their education processes. On the other hand, innovative educational methods are not necessarily guaranteed to work, so they must be cautiously explored while grants must be focused to support the research and integration of superior educational methods.
When discussing innovative teaching methods in a school, the science of education is what needs to be examined, more specifically, innovation means schools can serve as case studies to develop and spread superior teaching methods. However, like any science experiment, evidence, suggesting the methods can be used to enhance students' learning experiences, needs to be presented so to avoid any negative effects of a lack of educational success.
Furthermore, the psychologists and educators, who study innovative teaching methods, must be present to ensure the ideas are being used correctly by the teachers and administers along with students as self educators. In other words, experimenting with innovative methods must be treated as any other scientific study with all the safeguards and planning necessary to ensure, at the very least, a failure in the method has no negative effects on the students' education.
Meanwhile, psychology is very much a fractured science; this means cognitive psychologists, behaviorists, social psychologists, and other schools of thoughts are very different, such that, they hold diverse views on issues like education while there may be techniques which can undermine the effectiveness of another perspective's initiatives. Therefore, schools administers and teachers must take on well-defined projects that aim to integrate a specific teaching method into their curriculum while they must also be aware of the theory behind the method to the point that they should be able to fully and clearly justify how the method will improve the students' academic success.
Personally, I am attracted to the behaviorist perspective as it is more like a natural science than a social science while behavioral interventions tend to be stronger, more process based, more logical, and more direct with traceable results. Although behavioral studies are largely underrated for various reasons mentioned in books like About Behaviorism by B.F. Skinner, educational methods based on behavioral theories are probably the best choice for schools to experiment with as behaviorism is largely the study of learning.
Above all, whatever methods are explored, teachers, parents, and administration must be involved in the process and support the methods used; otherwise, the methods cannot be fully integrated into the educational community. Expanding innovations also requires adequate professional involvement from those in the educational system and the research community while the government needs to provide the grant money necessary for professional support to be acquired by the schools.