Happy Start to the School Year!

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past fifteen years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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Happy start of the 2018-19 school year! Whether you started a few weeks back or on Tuesday, I hope that the relationships you are cultivating with students and staff are promising and powerful. Much of my summer was dedicated to growing capacity for personalized learning around the United States.

This fall takes me halfway across the world to learn from powerful school models. My first trip is to Finland and to get ready I have been knee-deep in reading Finnish Lessons 2.0 by Pasi Sahlberg. In the last chapter, Sahlberg offers a new vision of Finish school which includes:

  • Less classroom-based teaching by rethinking the way time is used in school.
  • More personalized learning by designing customized learning plans with students and their families.
  • Focus on social skills, empathy, and leadership by growing the skills of students to cooperate with people who are very different from themselves and learn to cope in complex social networks.
  • The purpose of schooling is to find your talent by fostering curiosity, engagement, and creativity in all of our students.

The way he describes personalized learning beautifully captures the misguided use of technology as a tool for individualization: “Personalization doesn’t mean replacing teachers with technology and individualized study … The new Finnish school must be a socially inspiring and safe environment where all pupils can learn the social skills that they will need in their lives.”

The mission of Learning Personalized is to continue to be inspired by one another, to share practices that can motivate our own designs. What questions are you curious about? Whether it’s in relation to my trip to Finland or topics that you want to read more about, please reach out to me via email.

Speaking of inspiration, the theme of the newsletter is a highlight reel of my summer vacation:

As always, thank you for subscribing to Learning Personalized! Please reply to this email with feedback and questions!

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