Crucial Non-Academic Factors That Impact Educational ProgressBrooks
We speak a great deal about academic-specific ways to prepare students for the classroom. However, less touched upon in education are the factors outside of the academic sphere that impact students in the classroom.
Stemming from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, these are important to consider as educators. From physiological health to a sense of belonging and unlocking potential, these are merely a few factors that play into the educational progress that don’t directly have to do with writing, arithmetic, and the like.
A commonly overlooked pattern among young students is coming to school hungry. Be this part of low-income populations and access to food or kids just getting hungry at random (which is totally a thing), hungry students will be more focused on that simple physiological element over their studies. This is true of adults, children, and every stage between, but with young students, hunger affects them the strongest.
Transportation and location
Getting to school and actually being there. Absenteeism is a prevalent problem among students, especially when their location is difficult, public transportation/school bussing is lacking, and/or they’re at the mercy of parents/guardians getting them from point A to point B. The more seat time missed, the more difficult it is to catch up. Many times it’s as simple as just not being able to get there, which inevitably enters into the progress of their studies.
In our cases, from preschool Spanish curriculum to Spanish storybook sets, anything that has supplemental or required technological access can stand to set some students behind. Not all students have home computers, tablets, or internet access. The speed at which technology develops may be commonplace for some, but it’s not a reality for everyone.
Awareness of the needs of your students makes you, as an educator, better able to facilitate and foster a healthy learning environment. We start with preschool Spanish curriculum because we know that the earlier a child is introduced to foreign language learning, the better. What we also know is that if factors outside of the classroom and traditional academia are neglected, students will suffer in the classroom, too. Our job as educators is to take every factor into account and build strategies to support students as best we can, as growing humans and as young learners.