For School Boards / For School Leaders / For Teachers / Student Centered Learning

Learning isn’t one size fits all

What is personalized learning? Broadly, it’s when teachers and classrooms play to students’ strengths while recognizing their weaknesses–engaging them by integrating their passions and interests, while helping them through their struggles. But when it comes to implementation, there isn’t a single way to personalize the classroom, writes EdSurge

Teachers all over New Hampshire–and the country–are personalizing their classrooms. Some allow students to choose how they’d like to demonstrate what they’ve learned–one student might write an essay on photosynthesis, another may set up a hands-on experiment that demonstrates photosynthesis in action. Others allow students to ‘learn while doing’ through Extended Learning Opportunities, where they earn credit for qualifying internships and volunteer work.

But defining “personalized learning” by creating a one-size-fits-all model for a school defeats the purpose, says EdSurge:

Instead of parsing definitions, I find it useful to think about personalized learning in terms of the big problems schools are trying to solve. If one approach fails, a school can try another, undeterred from pursuing its ultimate goal.

…Picking winners and arguing who truly represents personalized learning is kind of a waste of time. Instead of attempting to define personalized learning, here are a number of worthwhile challenges pushing the personalized learning scrum:

Can we effectively incorporate… education practices in our schools like project-based learning, genius hours and other signature education experiences?

Are we measuring the right things for our students, or are there other important factors more closely linked to long-term success?

What student information and decision-making support do educators need to make effective clinical diagnoses?

Indeed, that’s the approach that New Hampshire takes, said Department of Education Commissioner Virginia Barry at a recent education conference:

“I want to really reinforce that the ideas that you have and the work that you are trying to innovate are being supported throughout the state,” Barry said. “I want to really underline today as you’re working together, that there are no cant’s anymore.”

Read the full article here.

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