Responding to one student at a time

Personalized Learning PostIt might take only a 4 second conversation with me to discover that I am preposterously passionate about personalized learning. Reading through Littky’s and Allen’s article about the MET school, an institution constructed on the bedrock of personalization, made me equally excited and jealous of the structures that are in place in this school that make personalized learning the norm.

The reality that struck me when reading this is that many teachers are working in systems that are not always conducive to personalization. I am blessed to teach in an independent school that celebrates a project based, inquiry, and student-centric approach. But how could teachers structure a personalized program in their classrooms when the system they are working is not personalized? It really seemed like the MET’s program worked in this article because it was the culture of the school; personalization was the air that they breathed. Could one personalized course change a student’s chances of success if the rest of their courses were more traditional?

Some basic notions I could borrow from the MET school and apply to my own teaching are to set personalized learning goals with each of my students at the beginning of the year (or contracts…I like that idea, Garth), generating broad curriculum goals that each student needs to demonstrate before the end of the year, and have students write statements about their passions / future dreams and aspirations / who they want to become oneday and use this as a basis for suggesting readings, building writing projects, finding out who they should send their writing to, or authentic purposes for generating creative expression.

About the Author
Passionate and curious about technology, smiles, special education, differentiated instruction, forests, graphic novels, accessibility, anti-oppression, and warm beverages. Can often be found laughing with young people and improvising songs on the spot. @teach_tomorrow

One comment on “Responding to one student at a time

  1. Jen Bibby says:

    Hi Celeste,
    I’ve enjoyed following your posts as well as the occasional Thursday night twitter feed when you and your DL mooc have met online. The idea of involving students from day one is a good one, and something I’d like to pursue with my students next year as we embrace the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) competencies in our language classes. I think the most exciting AND daunting part of what you propose is not designing the precise learning pathway from start to finish, at least prior to getting to know your students. However, brainstorming those authentic learning opportunities is a great springboard for personalization. And just wait until you begin reaching out to your school’s extended community and beyond! I look forward to chatting soon about the ideas you’ve been playing around with.

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