Photo CC of teachthought.com
While I was doing research for this week’s post I came across an article written by a former teacher of mine. Creating a Culture of Leaner Autonomy by Brian Anton. Mr. Anton was my sophomore history teacher and it is interesting to see how far he has come. It is also crazy to think how small the world really is and how social media can bring people together. I haven’t seen Mr. Anton in 4 years, but I just happened to find an article written by him while doing some research. This is the link to Mr. Anton’s Student Driven Social Studies Classroom webpage. This is the link to his profile on twitter, Mr. Anton’s Twitter Profile.
Mr. Anton mentioned in his article the students that just came to class and did the work to pass and I was one of those students though I am loathe to admit it. I have always considered myself a good student who worked for my grades but that is not entirely honest. Most of the time I did the work for the grade not for myself. Which is why I am interested in personalized learning and flipped classrooms.
I strongly disliked lecture classes where I would take notes, take a test and move on because I never did learn anything. There was no focus on what I was interested in learning, how I was interested in learning the material and how I wanted to present my findings. Education has lost the ideal that learning should be about the student and not about the content. As of late educators have become so focused on scores and numbers not the student and making sure students are actually learning the content instead of just doing enough to get a good grade. In her book Book Love by Peggy Kittle, Peggy gives countless examples of students who never actually read the assigned book instead they used spark notes, class discussions, or summaries on the internet. What happened to students wanting to learn for leaning’s sake? When did school become about tests, scores, and doing just enough for a good grade?
Personalized vs. differentiated vs. individualized learning by Dale Basye is another great article that explains personalized learning and then how to bring together all three different approaches. When kids take responsibility for their learning they are more excited to learn and more willing to learn. Kids will most likely doze off or pull out their phones if I stand in front of the class and lecture on symbolism in To Kill A Mockingbird. If I ask them to choose a novel instead and pick a literary element to focus on I guarantee that more students will be excited to study and learn. There will always be a need for teachers because students don’t know everything but I don’t think student learning should be the teacher’s responsibility alone. When I choose to learn something, such as my ILP (Independent Learning Project) I put time and effort into it because I chose the subject and it is something I want to learn about. I have autonomy over my learning and that makes it way more enjoyable than if my teacher had assigned us a topic to learn about.
Students need that autonomy and we as educators should give it to them.
These are some personalized learning managers I followed on Twitter.
Jin-Soo Huh twitter profile-Jin Soo Huh is the personalized learning manager for Alpha Schools.
Stephen Pham Twitter Profile– Stephen Pham is also a manager of personalized learning in San Francisco, California.