Gauge Yourself: On the Path to Personalizing Instruction

Jill Thompson is currently an Associate Partner at Education Elements. Prior to working with Education Elements, she was the Director of Personalized Digital Learning at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). Follow her on twitter @edu_thompson

“Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.”

-Jon Gordon

Personalized Learning (PL) is a great philosophy to reach the diverse range of learners in educators classrooms. I often get asked, “Am I doing PL right?” when I visit classrooms and other districts. There is no right way to “do” PL if you are focusing on the students taking more ownership in the classroom. There is also no right tool or program to make this happen. PL comes down to what the teacher does in the classroom; here are three ways to gauge yourself to see if you are on the path to personalizing instruction for your students:

  1. Your students understand WHY they are learning. It is important for students to understand that learning is a process. Students need to have time to be able to set learning goals and reflect on these goals. Having student data trackers allows them to see their growth overtime no matter where they start on the learning continuum for that objective to help guide their learning goals.
  2. Your students are learning in DIFFERENT ways. No one person learns content in the same way and a “one size fits all” approach has been proven not to work. Learning is ‘messy’ and not linear. We learn from failures just as much (if not more) as we do from successes. Allowing students to have choice and learn in different ways helps personalize it based on each student’s needs.
  3. Your students are connecting to their interests and/or passions. Learning is always more fun when we are learning about things we are interested in or passionate about. Understanding what your students are interested in and/or passionate about can help you connect learning outcomes for your students based on their interests/passions.

In my previous blog posts on PL, I offer lots of suggestions about how to make these changes in your classroom that you might find helpful. Creating a PL environment does not happen overnight! You should make small changes in your practice to make a big impact over time.

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