Skip to Main Content.

Professor projects 5 growing trends in curriculum and instruction for K-6

by Monica Smith

Apr 12, 2022, 1:00 PM.

From big data to funding, several developments are growing to create better ways to teach children in elementary school.
Maria Tsalikis
Maria Tsalikis

As education professionals navigate classroom dynamics, parent engagement, and individualized curriculum, certain trends have emerged, illuminating what the future will be like for those who teach in elementary schools across the nation and are pursuing a degree in elementary education from FIU.


Looking ahead, Maria Tsalikis, associate teaching professor for the College of Arts and Sciences & Education and professor for the M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction: Elementary Education track, points to integrated classrooms with both general and special education students and urban communities—two areas that present critical needs in education.

Tsalikis explains that there is continuing discourse about culturally and linguistically diverse students and discusses the changes that are needed to help devise effective and inclusive curricula for K-6 learners—especially for those in South Florida. The master’s in curriculum and instruction from FIU, online, takes the diversity of Florida into account.

“We have more challenges now than before and in response, we've made the master's degree in curriculum and instruction available online in a more comprehensive fashion to help teachers navigate our times critically,” she says and highlights the top five areas that are evolving in elementary education.

1. Technology

Technology is now a critical component in K-6 learning. The pandemic, like so many industries, forced remote work and, therefore, the use of technology. While it presented challenges for instruction with younger learners, it did provide continuity in many ways. As such, technology will be a concrete part of the curriculum, but will continue to develop.

“Today’s graduates need to be lockstep with the technology skills that can benefit students,” states Tsalikis, who describes the ways the online M.S in Curriculum & Instruction: Elementary Education track incorporates research-based methods using technology.

2. Mental health

The pandemic affected everyone; however, early studies are only just beginning to shed light on the amount it affected the social and emotional health of K-6 students. Moving forward, a concerted effort to support students must be at the forefront of academic teaching and learning—mental health issues and emotional health are paramount.

3. Big data

With the proliferation of technology, there is an even greater focus on data in FIU’s master’s degrees in elementary education online.

“We’re not getting away from that,” affirms Tsalikis. She explains how data, with regard to curriculum and instruction, is developing the relevance for programs. Also, the metrics derived from the data are needed to evaluate student outcomes and the techniques that work.

4. Parents

Parents must be included and communication is a big part of the connection out in the community, acknowledges Tsalikis.

“It’s critical for the well-being of children and education professionals—education professionals must build trust with parents and the community, so we must find ways, beyond the open house, to stay connected with parents,” suggests Tsalikis, who references recent legislation in Florida.

5. Funding

Outside-of-the-box ideas for funding including partnerships with businesses and organizations will likely be a new area to help finance the technology needs, for example. Tsalikis admits that teachers have relied on grant writing, but the needs are always there for more. In the future, education professionals will look toward enhancing the partnerships that exist and finding ways to incorporate services to help support learners, she predicts.

Tsalikis points out the vital need for education professionals who are critical thinkers and creative problem solvers. FIU’s online degrees in education immerse students in instruction that encourages this, she says.

“We’re teaching the educators to meet the needs of the future through relevant instruction that will make them even more effective to help all students in every community,” she summarizes. “It’s an exciting time because there is so much possibility.”

Want to share your story?

Submit it!

Quick Links

Information for...