Learning and Schools: Predictions

Learning and Schools: Predictions

Education December 10, 2021 / By Joanne Foster, EdD
Learning and Schools: Predictions

Here are four encouraging predictions involving ways to ignite meaningful learning.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

~ William Shakespeare


In the wake of the Covid pandemic and its ongoing realities, schools are adapting, and everyone is working hard to meet the challenges of implementing measures to safeguard the health of students, staff, and communities. School personnel continue to strengthen communication channels, recognizing the importance of keeping parents in the loop so that families can ask questions, voice concerns, and feel informed, reassured, and involved.

However, there’s unprecedented juggling going on as teachers and administrators strive to meet children’s individual learning needs—by adjusting and reconfiguring instructional models while, at the same time, dealing with other professional obligations and their own day-to-day responsibilities.

Given all of this, what will the months ahead look like in schools? And what can parents do to help make meaningful learning a priority?


Although no-one knows what the future holds, I will nevertheless engage in speculation with four predictions for 2022. (Wishful thinking? Perhaps. I’m an optimist.)

  • Well-being: In education institutions across the continent, I anticipate a concerted focus on nurturing students’ mental health and wellness. This includes implementing additional means of fortifying children’s well-being amidst lingering pressures of uncertainty and Covid-related vulnerability. Perceived or actual gaps in students’ learning also require address. To that end, adults will step up to the challenge, and will continue to reinforce children’s strengths, demonstrate resilience and coping strategies, and be flexibly responsive to questions and concerns by providing information that kids can understand and manage, and acquiring additional help when needed.
  • · Professional Development (PD): I predict that there will be more professional development opportunities for teachers. This will enable them to be better prepared to meet children’s needs across domains—in social-emotional, academic, and other areas. “Finding a match between a person’s abilities, interests, and preferences, and their learning environments and opportunities, can lead to positive outcomes for the present and well into the future” (Being Smart about Gifted Learning, p. 328). Whether in the context of the pandemic, during transition times (such as fluctuating home- and school-based programs, and hybrid models), or when things are running smoothly, the emphasis will be on supporting all students. PD will focus on nurturing children’s wellness; on respecting diversity (including understanding bias, and eliminating it); and on updating curriculum so that it reflects a more inclusive range of cultures and experiences. It’s important for all staff to receive training in these areas, and in how to address needs across the entire learning spectrum. Parents can and should ramp up advocacy for such professional development offerings.
  • Technology: Home and school technology has intensified, and it will continue to be bolstered by ongoing engagement from students, parents, and educators. Children will be learning about outreach, respectful discourse, online safety, building relationships, and acquiring openness to ever-expanding tech-based connectivity. They will also learn how to monitor—and, if need be, adapt—their online habits by becoming more informed about how to be savvy tech consumers. Parents can encourage this, too.
  • Extracurriculars: More families will tap into extracurricular activities, with an emphasis on children’s enthusiasms, curiosity, and creativity. Smart parents realize that these kinds of learning options can complement what happens at school, and provide children with ways to pursue interests, develop talents and skill sets, challenge their intellects, and extend a love of learning. Parents will seek and find avenues for encouraging children’s cognitive, creative, emotional, and social capacities by broadening horizons and knowledge bases. Areas for consideration include authentic problem-solving, STEM pursuits (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), arts, athletics, nature studies, leadership, volunteering, and programs across different disciplines, and geared at various ability levels.


Parents and educators cannot predict the future. However, they’re able to learn from past experiences, and take heart in knowing that certain attitudes and initiatives can foster kids’ success. These include supporting diversity, and making sure that children’s learning opportunities are relevant and appropriately challenging. And, equally as important, helping children recognize the value of effort, inquiry, reflection, collaboration, creativity, and optimism. This will empower them to see for themselves the endless possibilities for the years ahead.


Dr. Joanne Foster is an award-winning author who writes about child development and gifted education. Her most recent book is Being Smart about Gifted Learning: Empowering Parents and Kids Through Challenge and Change (co-authored with Dona Matthews, 2021). For more information, and for access to many articles and timely resources on children’s well-being, creativity, intelligence, productivity, and learning, go to www.joannefoster.ca.

Being Smart about Gifted Learning provides up-to-date perspectives so that parents, grandparents, and teachers have current knowledge about how to support the development of giftedness, creativity, and talent in the children and teens in their lives. Dr. Dona Matthews and Dr. Joanne Foster address pressing questions and concerns, and share hundreds of resources in this third edition of their award-winning book. The authors focus on helping families find a healthy balance that will nurture children’s exceptional abilities, optimal development, and well-being. Being Smart about Gifted Learning can be ordered here at Gifted Unlimited LLC. (Coming fall, 2021.)

“This tremendous book describes how gifted education resources can be applied to nurturing talent broadly and inclusively across the population. The Optimal Match approach demystifies understandings of giftedness, and brings common sense to conceptions of meaningful learning at home, school, and elsewhere.”

~ Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., Columbia University

This book will prompt re-examination of many long-held beliefs!”

~ Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., Stanford University

“Matthews and Foster highlight the importance of an appropriate education for gifted and talented students with the concept of an optimal match between students and their learning environments…The ideas in this book represent an important conceptual framing that will help gifted and talented programs serve broader and more diverse populations of students.”

~ Frank Worrell, Ph.D., U C Berkeley, American Psychology Association President-Elect, 2022.

“Drs. Matthews and Foster have given us a comprehensive, intelligently designed and brilliantly crafted book written with extraordinary understanding and compassion.

~ Felice Kaufmann, Ph.D., U.S. Presidential Scholar

“Rich with examples, this book highlights the importance of an optimal match between challenging and engaging school and home experiences, and opportunities to develop gifts and talents! A practical, thoughtful contribution by two leading experts!”

~ Sally M. Reis, Ph.D., University of Connecticut

comments powered by Disqus