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For many years I have admired elementary master teachers whose classrooms are a little chaotic and messy, but the students are learning in a truly authentic manner – a manner that they personally own. Often these teachers have mastered differentiated instruction and assessment and yield incredible outcomes for their students. It is a practice we have come to expect in strong elementary programs, especially those that include Montessori techniques. While some secondary college-prep teachers have incorporated a curated approach to teaching, most have not. I know I have made many attempts at differentiation – some have been successful and a few have been less so. As I think about the students I will be working with in the future, they will be children of Generation Z (those born from 1995 to 2009). After “reading” an info-graphic about this generation, I think personalized learning will have a central role in coaching these students to be their personal academic and personal best.
As I think about my own teaching practice and how I want to encourage the teachers I will lead this fall, I have been considering the role of blended-learning within a personalized learning approach. I was prompted to explore this idea because of an innovation paper I just submitted for a class. The January 5 blog posting on http://www.personalizedlearning.com has really got me considering how best to maximize this approach to teaching and learning, with a specific eye to how this works better in an all girls environment. The way girls learn best really ties to this idea of a curated learning experience. Once my dissertation is complete, I am looking forward to thinking more about personalized learning and talking with the faculty and staff at GPS about ways they already incorporate these practices and new ways we can consider to maximize our time with our learners. (Check out the blog posting to know why I used “learners” and not “students”.)
Now, back to my dissertation.
Even with the billions of dollars spent on early childhood education, WIC, Title I, school choice, and access programs, will the gap ever narrow? Is it just a question of money or are there other, deeper social issues connected with our nation’s experiences around race, economic class, and gender equality that are impeding progress? Are people with social capital interested in sharing their socio-economic power? Are those without economic privilege willing and able to do what it takes to acquire power through education and then pay it forward to those who continue to struggle?