Did Jon got to choose his brain?
Then, whose fault is it, if he’s cannot do simple multiplication, and keeps on nagging you for a calculator?
Is it Patricia, his teacher, who must teach as well as prepare a class of twenty-eight students, so that everyone scores ‘proficient’ over the end-of-year standardized computerized state tests?
P.S.- I forgot to mention, half-of her students are two to three grades below their current grade level.
Is there NO-WAY-OUT for Patricia?
Well, one of most touted solution of this problem is – Personalized Learning.
What is personalized learning
The Center For Curriculum Redesign defines it as, a flexible, learner-centered model that’s responsive to changing student needs. On a higher level, students drive their own learning; and have the choice and ownership of how they advance.
How personalized learning works
Schools with personalized learning function a lot differently than traditional schools. No longer do curriculum-directors treat standards as targets to achieve, but as go-signals that signal that a student is ready to move on to the next domain.
Moreover, the lesson plans are designed not around curriculum goals, but they become the centre of design with student needs gyrating around them. Patricia is no longer drilling students with concepts; instead, her students are, now, learning to apply what they learn, and therefore, working their way towards the standards.
Similarly, the goals of student testing also change. Students are no longer tested to judge their mastery of a curriculum. Rather, the assessments aim at identifying students’ strengths, and what the students can become better at. Instead of labeling children, these tests try to understand the direction they are headed in.
Traditionally, the purpose of accommodations has been to push students towards normalcy; in a personalized setting, accommodations help leverage students’ existing skill set. They also assist in the development of new skills.
Personalized Learning – A fresh approach
Personalized learning models can differ across schools. However, a few components remain the same – student-centered learning, student-oriented progression, flexibility of learning environment, anytime anywhere learning and so on. Most literature on this topic also states that students move on only when they’re ready.
Unfortunately, such a learning environment is impossible in a traditional setting. So, the schools have shifted to various new innovative models.
The most popular model is to split school hours into teacher-led instruction and self-regulated learning sessions. Students, who require special attention, study in a self-directed learning environment with their teachers.
Another popular approach is to blend technology with classroom instruction. Students study in a self-directed learning environment. Teachers ensure personalization via differentiated instruction, regular practice sessions, and real-time monitoring of student progress.
There are several other approaches too – The pull-in model, small-group instruction, flipped classroom, and many more; each employs a different set of pedagogic principles.
In the upcoming articles, we will discuss all these models of personalized learning on this blog. One by one, we would highlight their benefits, the pros and cons, and finally, how to implement them into various school settings.
The question of the hour is – Did Jon got to choose his brain?
If not, then why is Jon being forced to get ready for a future that Peter, too, is being readied for? What does the term college- and college-readiness really signify?
We encourage you to explore PracTutor. PracTutor helps students practice at their own pace by personalizing their learning path. It provides students with several accommodations which ensure that students can master Math and Language arts.