Personalised Learning in the Modern Languages Classroom

For my action research as a part of Cohort 21, I am going to explore the roll of personalised learning in the Modern Language classroom with a specific focus on French language. I am currently doing some reading around the ideas and strategies of personalised learning and deciding/brainstorming how they would fit in my classroom. I will be looking at this type of learning to help with a Gr. 10 & 11 split Extended French class that has a lot of energy and diverse interests.

I have been and am hoping to expose this class to even more types of educational technology. We are currently using Diigo, Twitter, Understoodit.com and are starting on Voicethread.com as a means to create a collaborative environment that can be accessed in their own space at their own pace.

I even gave them the curriculum and had them choose the expectations they would be evaluated on and we worked together to build the rubric. In the beginning this was really difficult for them and it was a frustrating process for me and them, trying to figure out the balance of structure and constructing their own learning. I am happy with the reflections of learning I have seen in class but I sometimes struggle to sit back and watch them struggling, but isn’t that at the heart of how we’re trying to achieve – perseverance and rigour?

What I am finding is that the keen students are the ones who are really pushing themselves to be better and are digging deeply into their learning, while others tend to bob at the surface. I am unsure if this is the result of French being seen as the elective they prioritize last or if it is that they are truly struggling because no one has given them ownership over their learning and there isn’t a right or wrong answer necessarily.

At any rate, I am happy be moving forward with personalised learning and I look forward to sharing insights. To that end, I also am open for feedback so if you happen to come across any resources, or have an experience or insight that you feel would be helpful please share!

I’ve been reading through this over the past day or two on and off, some of it seems useful and I was surprised at how long the idea of personalized learning has been around. What are we waiting for?


 

 

6 Replies to “Personalised Learning in the Modern Languages Classroom”

  1. Hi Derek,
    thanks for this thoughtful post. I am excited to see how you explore personalization in the French class. I am very interested in your comment: “I even gave them the curriculum and had them choose the expectations they would be evaluated on and we worked together to build the rubric. In the beginning this was really difficult for them and it was a frustrating process for me and them, trying to figure out the balance of structure and constructing their own learning.” This speaks to the opportunities for students to take control of their learning, but the challenges that this poses as well. It’s a great start!

    I strongly suggest that you keep some of this anecdotal and qualitative feeback in some sort of record. It can show you their growth in independent learning skills. This is something you’ll want to teach directly now to these students – how do they learn? What are strategies of keeping pace with the course, and how do you manage your long-term planning. A great tool to help you coordinate all of this is Google calendar. You can create and share a calendar with your students and help them manage their time more independently, but you are there as a safety net.

    Here is a great resource to get you thinking about how to can leverage some technology to help you further personalize your course: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-differentiated-instruction-ten-key-lessons

    Thanks,
    garth.

    • Garth, as usual you are a great mentor and friend! Thanks for looking out for me and always helping out! I appreciate the resources and I’ll look into Google Calendar. We are currently creating learning portfolios (digitally and hard copies) and is that what you meant by record? I will start keeping a journal to record how my classes are going and what the challenges are so that I can continue to trouble shoot in the future.

      Thanks again!

      D

  2. DD,
    Keep rocking the personalized learning – I love seeing kids struggle and then really figure it out – either on their own or with your guidance. It is all about resiliency – I believe this is one of the most important strategies we can build within our kids.
    I would love to come to your class and see it in action. Let me know when.
    Struan

    • Yeah man, I checked this out earlier in the week. Rita mentioned it in her post too! It’s nice to see what others are doing so we can better adapt the pedagogy in our respective courses. Looking forward to getting back together on Saturday!

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