It 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.