Traditional Approach to Teaching and Non-traditional

Thinking about sending your child off to school? You will need to decide which educational philosophy and approach works best for you. What it really comes down to is whether you want to send your child to a school that uses a traditional approach to teaching or one that uses a non-traditional approach.

Traditional Approach to Teaching and Non-traditional

Your child’s age is a major factor when it comes to choosing an educational approach. For example, if you send him to a Montessori school as a toddler, you are exposing him to a non-traditional approach to education. It is an excellent approach and highly regarded. But non-traditional nonetheless. Start your child off in a Montessori school and you will lay solid foundations for learning in later life. But visit a traditional  school and you will see a quite different approach to early education.
Obvious differences will be the dress code. Uniforms are required at many traditional religious schools. The curricula follow traditional blocks of science, math, language arts and social studies. Add religion if the school is a faith-based  school. Class sizes will more than likely be small (10-15) in a typical non-traditional school.

The real differences between traditional approach to teaching and non-traditional take place in the classroom and in the way the teachers teach. Please understand that weren’t being judgmental here. Highlighting differences so that you can be informed and make your school choice decisions accordingly.

The non-traditional approaches claim to allow children more flexibility do work on their own and at their own pace while the traditional approaches believe that that everybody should be engaged in the same activity at the same time.

Classes in a traditional school progress from one teacher to another as they advance through the grade levels. In a non-traditional school your child will probably have the same teacher for two or three years.

Educational Outcomes in Traditional and Non-traditional School

The educational outcomes in traditional and non-traditional school depends to a large extent on you as a parent. Your partnership with the school is critical whether the school is traditional or non-traditional. You have the responsibility to fill in the missing bits. You need to put ideas and concepts into context so that your child understands them and learns how to apply them in every day life. Children learn in different ways. You know how your child learns better than anyone. That’s why you are such an important partner in his education.

So, what happens if your child attends a non-traditional high school? You know, one which does not believe in SAT preparation or Advanced Placement courses among other traditional college prep academic staples. What if he has spent his primary school years in a progressive school “where he has had to construct his own understanding of ideas and concepts”, Do you want your child to learn or to be taught?

Your child will do just fine with college admissions provided that you and he pay attention to the basics does he offer what the college is looking for – and the details  applications turned in on time and complete. The savvy parent will hire an educational consultant to identify colleges with the best fit for her child.  But it might not necessarily be the best fit for your child. Since you are already thinking outside the box with respect to your child’s primary and secondary education, it makes sense to continue thinking outside the box as you look at colleges.

Don’t traditional schools do a better job of the college prep essentials such as SATs and AP courses? Some do. Some don’t. Much depends on the competence and experience of the teachers. Don’t traditional schools serve as feeder schools to the best universities and colleges? Decades ago that may have been the case. But in the 21st century diversity rules in the college admissions office just as it does in private school admissions offices. Admissions officers look for characteristics and experiences which make an applicant stand out and be able to contribute something meaningful to the makeup of their freshman classes.

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