At the start of January of this year I embarked on a different approach to teaching and learning in my classroom, I personalised the learning of each and every learner in my class focusing on their learning not my teaching. I had read, researched and discussed this approach but I was still unsure whether it would be as effective as I hoped it would be in raising the level of attainment in my class. It not only did so but it surpassed any aspirations I had and it has made me even more determined to pursue this approach through the remainder of this academic year.
Personalising Learning is not something you can pick up and start in your own class tomorrow. You need to take into account most if not all of the following.
- It takes a lot of thought and effort
- It takes time to build up a clear picture of every learner in your class and where they are in their own learning
- It takes courage to stand back as a teacher and let the learning happen of its own accord
- It requires a vision and belief that it will work
- It needs careful planning but still allow for change at a moments notice
- It needs the voice of the learner to be listened to to steer the direction of the learning
- It needs you to rethink your classroom layout
- It needs you to rethink your approach to teaching and learning
In the last 8 weeks I have witnessed learners blossoming, growing, developing skills that would have otherwise been kept contained due to an over adherence to the 3-step teaching model (Introduction, Main Activity, Plenary). I have also been amazed at how much learners can steer their own learning towards surpassing goals that a national curriculum demands. Last week I gathered together my teacher assessments and was blown over by the level of improvement in both English and Maths. Learners in my class have taken to the use of personalised learning so effectively that they have demanded that I continue the approach during the final term of the school year.
There is room for improvement of course. I want to develop peer assessment into this approach so that learners have the opportunity to steer each others learning journeys. I would love to see another teacher follow the approach with their own class even if it was only for one week so that we could learn from each other and perhaps use available technologies to connect our learners to peer assess their learning journeys. I want to give over even more opportunities to my learners to develop their own learning by marrying national curriculum learning objectives with their own 20 time projects.
It's never been a better time to be a teacher/learner.