4 big school trends for 2020

Dabbing and bottle flipping are so last decade, writes Haili Hughes, who sets out what to expect in classrooms this year

pupil with phone

Remember dabbing? 

Or bottle flipping? 

So last decade! 


Quick read: A teacher’s guide to TikTok

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As we head into 2020, we can expect a load of new trends, many of which will enter our classrooms and affect our teaching and pupils’ learning. 

Here is a round-up of future fads and social movements to look out for so you can score some points on the cool-o-meter and be decidedly down with it.

1. Teens will be even more switched on

When I was growing up, my biggest concern was about Robbie Williams leaving Take That, but today’s teens are much more politically switched on. 

They use social media to keep abreast of current political events and share their opinions confidently, sometimes in the form of hilarious memes. 

In 2019, tens of thousands of school pupils skipped their lessons to attend climate-change strikes in cities across the UK. Experiences in my own classroom in the lead-up to the general election also demonstrated how passionate kids were about vital issues such as Brexit, the NHS and education funding. 

It looks like this is a trend that is set to continue into 2020, and surely this can only be a good thing.

2. TikTok tendency

Millions of teens are already using the app to watch videos, react to them and even film their own responses. The app allows you to record videos up to 60 seconds in length, but most videos last about 15 seconds – short enough to engage even the most distracted of students. 

Teachers have always had to adapt and find new ways of engaging their students so I predict many educators will be looking for new ways to adapt TikTok for use in the classroom.

3. Alternative fashion 

Forget the fake-tanned, ombre-eyebrowed, collagen-lipped Kardashian look – the latest runway looks for spring/summer 2020 are decidedly more alternative, as it seems that subcultures such as goth and punk are making a comeback. 

While it can be hard for students to stamp their own style on a uniform and dress code, expect to see a resurgence of Doc Martens and pin badges on blazers. 

Hopefully, this refocus on individuality may also boost students' self-esteem, as they will not feel under as much pressure to achieve a perfect Instagram-style look.

4. Gender is just a label

A new wave of gender acceptance is sweeping through schools and the issue is firmly on the agenda. Over the past year, global brands have been aiming to make their products more gender-neutral, and with the popularity of TV shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, pupils have never been so woke about gender identity. 

In schools, this raises an important issue about pronouns, as some students feel more comfortable being referred to as “they” and “them” than by the traditional “he” and “she.”

I feel that this is definitely an area in which some staff will need training to ensure that all students feel comfortable. 

Haili Hughes is an English teacher at Saddleworth School in Oldham, Greater Manchester. She tweets @HughesHaili 

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