The MicroSchool Phenomenon
The word “microschool” or “minischool” may sound like a new concept given that most of us are accustomed to the large scale schooling system. However, the idea is not as foreign as one might think. In fact, microschools have been around for centuries! While their demand began to decline when the modern “large-scale” school system became widely adopted, microschools have recently seen a reemergence in popularity amidst the pandemic. It is now considered an alternate schooling method that manages itself quite differently from the traditional learning style that we are all used to.
What is microschool?
As the name implies, a microschool is a school with a limited student population; some with as few as two students. The schools can operate as private learning institutions that create customized learning plans and curriculum or teachers can assist students with their current curriculums acting as the “guide on the side” who offers support rather than lectures. Furthermore, there are no set locations for the classrooms with many microschools taking advantage of public and community spaces.
What are the advantages of a microschool?
1. Personalized Curriculum
The curriculum and learning style are entirely personalized, ensuring that students are developing proper learning habits, and are comfortable with the pace and style. Students are taught according to their learning style, which can be:
- Visual (Spatial)
- Aural (Auditory-Musical)
- Verbal (Linguistic)
- Physical (Kinesthetic)
- Logical (Mathematical)
- Social (Interpersonal)
- Solitary (Intrapersonal)
2. Moves Away from Standardized Testing
The anxiety of studying for a test, test-taking, and waiting for results is a process that most do not miss. For teachers, tests are supposed to assess a student’s skill level and understanding of a topic but, for many students, testing spells out nothing but stress. While some microschools may rely on standardized tests from time to time, most are moving students away from it.
3.Self Organization and Adaptability
Traditional schools often enforce strict schedules; students have to go to class at a certain time, eat lunch at a specific time, or even have a free period at a particular time. Consequently, no control and little freedom often lead to behavioral issues. In contrast, microschools create student based schedules that are flexible, encourage extracurricular activity and, give students choices. Microsschools help students build self-management skills and confidence which will help them throughout their life.
4. Reduced Homework Burden
If you were to ask students what is the one thing they dislike about school, homework is undeniably one of the top answers. With micro schools, students can work at their own pace. This is why, unlike the traditional classroom formula where students bring work home daily, micro schools are geared towards making sure that students understand the material they’re learning.
5. Stronger Student-Teacher Relationship
Microschools help strengthen the student-teacher relationship because the small class size allows teachers to give students the individual attention they need. Teachers have a chance to really get to know their students and focus on strengthening weaker areas. Customized and small group learning strengthens student-teacher relationships, helps students stay motivated, engaged, inspired, and empowered.
6. Social Distancing Made Easier
The coronavirus has made social distancing, face coverings, and handwashing a mandatory part of our daily lives. Safety is a significant concern for parents when considering whether to send their children back to school. The bigger the school, the higher the risk. Microschools offer a safer alternative; smaller student populations allow for social distancing and make it easier for teachers to maintain CDC safety practices.