Provide an educational experience that is more subjective for students through personalized learning.
Education should not be simply dictating the same lessons year after year to students seated quietly over the course of an entire day. Personalized learning addresses the need for a style of teaching that feeds individual students. By not requiring students to learn through the same exact methods as their peers, personalized learning affords discovery of not only new information but a student’s connection with curriculum. Through personalized learning, educators tap into students’ true potential – potential that might otherwise be overlooked when utilizing rigid, traditional teaching methods.
Throughout the country, the debate continues regarding the efficiency of testing and whether it can accurately measure a student’s grasp of material. Performance assessments have become a more popular method of gauging student progress through project-based learning. By allowing students to develop projects that illustrate their understanding of material, teachers see great enthusiasm and a sense of ownership in their students, and find they exhibit strong comprehension of concepts that are explained in their own terms. Assign projects that require students to build a portfolio of their work in a certain subject, conduct experiments, and create exhibitions. Teachers are able to assess student understanding of concepts through the execution of these projects.
When students change teachers with each new semester or school year, they are unable to form close, personal relationships. The method of looping allows teachers and students to remain with the same group each year. Through looping, teachers gain student trust, an understanding of how each student’s mind processes knowledge, and become familiar with a pupil’s personality and lifestyle. Students who remain with the same teacher each year will be more willing to participate in lessons, enjoy stronger relationships with classmates, and have a better sense of their own needs. Though looping might seem to be an excellent idea, the entire school — if not the district — must be involved in transitioning to this approach.
Adopted by the Michigan Department of Education, seat-time waivers allow students to learn through coursework that can be partially administered in class, online, through computer-based programs, and via project-based learning. The state permits each district to organize these programs, but has provided competency requirements and lesson guidelines that must be followed. Teachers who wish to implement seat-time waivers must first approach the administration that manages their school and take the necessary steps to involve their district’s education decision makers. Talk to your administrators about using some alternative teaching techniques to get students out of their seats and learning in a way that is meaningful to them.
Successful teachers connect with students and recognize that each individual child has potential. As the needs of different students continue to be valued and prioritized, personalized learning methods and alternative teaching techniques are going to gain greater acceptance.
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