Alternative Learning Approaches in Education
Alternative education methods and approaches refer to an educational process that facilitates teaching and learning. Evaluating different strategies begins by defining traditional methods of education with characteristics such as formalism, authoritarianism, memorisation and repetition. Alternative education seeks to eliminate these characteristics to work in favour of new ways that involve experiential education.
Reality pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning that focuses on understanding the realities of students to use the information as a starting point for instruction. This new age of alternatives to learning styles works for many learners and makes education easy, attractive and impressive. For instance, adopting hip-hop culture in teaching and learning to make youth comfortable in a classroom setting, project-based learning to engage learners with real-world problems and hands-on learning using assessments and projects.
A number of alternative approaches to learning and education emerged as a result of low educational outcomes and standards with a lack of quality resources. The situation forced parents to consider alternatives to traditional systems. Today, there are many options that are open to educators and learners including home schools, independent schools and non-traditional schools. Mentioned below are a few alternative methodologies to education.
Six Alternative Educational Methodologies
- Montessori method: create an environment that is prepared, ordered, aesthetic, simple and real; so students can develop themselves accordingly. This method promotes socialisation, teachers work as a guide to help students develop inner confidence and discipline.
- Waldorf method: it promotes cooperative learning where learners play active roles supported by families. Attention is paid so that students who have learning disorders can be accommodated by adapting to the traditional system of education.
- Amara Berri system: Using everyday situations for the purpose of learning. It includes games to develop learner competencies. And establishes that students learn as researchers while the teachers keep in mind that all learners have different paces of learning. Hence, respecting their learning style and their abilities is important.
- Reggio Emilia philosophy: children learn through being protagonists in their learning with teachers as guides. Classrooms are designed for harmonious practices where students can enjoy their identities without any limits imposed. Parents are also an important part of the process and they play an active role in students’ experiences.
- Popular education: a learning process that constructs knowledge. Using critical thinking, the approach is democratising in its practices. It also works with creativity and effort with the consolidation of organisational processes in popular cultural and political sectors.
- Doman pedagogy: aims to develop students’ individuality with a broad concept of the human being. It caters to the natural and spontaneous capacity to learn and integrate physical, intellectual and emotional factors of development.
These teaching methods are continuously evolving and with time each model develops with the need to align with what the new generation of learners demand from their education. Beyond the knowledge that students acquire, their skills, tools, experiences and emotional intelligence is assumed to be of great importance in preparing them for future challenges. Each method of alternative education provokes individuals to question whether the new method is enough to meet the educational needs of this new era or it might bring in gaps in teaching and learning with time for change or adaptation.