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Curriculum Trends with Real World Applications Beyond the Classroom


While much of school is dedicated to teaching students mastery of common core educational concepts, another focus is how to best prepare students for success in the real world after graduation. Current curriculum trends have evolved to meet the needs of students, and educators are learning how to prepare them for success in future careers and as members of society.

Making learning relevant to the lives of students is an ever-present concern for educators and administrators, and one way to encourage intrinsic motivation is to make classroom lessons applicable to students' daily lives.

An online Master of Arts in Education — Teacher as Leader in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) can advance your knowledge in curriculum design and instruction. This program can help you develop powerful instructional approaches, integrate technology into the classroom, implement new teaching strategies and evaluate learning outcomes.

5 Relevant Curriculum Trends to Assist Students in the Real World

Concepts in education and how they are taught are constantly changing. Educators who are interested in implementing new teaching strategies to incorporate critical thinking, collaboration and communication will benefit their students by preparing them for life outside of the classroom. The following are five trends that can help students in their personal and professional lives: 

  1. Personalized learning. Personalized learning is an educational concept that customizes learning for each student while focusing on their strengths, skills, interests and needs. This style of learning abandons the one-size-fits-all style of teaching and tailors learning based on each student. Since students learn at different rates and in different ways, teachers base each learning plan on academic standards and implement each student's individual needs, strengths, motivations, goals and progress. Personalized learning can help students advocate for themselves, talk about their interests and participate in their learning journey.
  2. Project-based learning. Project-based learning (PBL) is a method where students learn by participating in projects for an extended period. These projects typically involve solving a real-world problem while developing critical thinking skills, creativity, collaboration and communication skills.
  3. Social and emotional learning. Social and emotional learning (SEL) translates to personal and professional situations by teaching students to develop and maintain worthwhile relationships, manage emotions, achieve goals, show and feel empathy for others, develop a healthy personal identity and make caring decisions. SEL can also confront forms of inequity and encourage safe and healthy school and personal environments.
  4. Digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is all about the empowered and responsible use of technology. When students learn to build positive digital experiences and how to participate online in a beneficial way, they translate those lessons into real-life actions. Knowing how to be a responsible digital citizen applies to best practices for posting content, doing research, recognizing safety issues and online etiquette.
  5. Genius hour. Genius hour is a passion-based approach to learning where students spend an hour or more of the day delving into a topic by exploring their ideas and learning for the sake of learning. This inquiry-based learning style allows students to explore their interests while being supported by their teacher. This method can prepare students to become lifelong learners, build social skills, confidence, collaboration and problem-solving.

Next Steps

If you're interested in making a radical shift in your classroom curriculum and are passionate about making daily lessons relevant to real-world situations, an online Master of Arts in Education from NKU can boost your education credentials as well as improve teaching styles with instructional strategies and current curriculum trends.

Learn more about Northern Kentucky University's Master of Arts in Education — Teacher as Leader in Curriculum and Instruction online program.


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