I feel student centered learning is certainly a more effective way to educate today’s youth, especially because of the diversity we have in our schools. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds that will dramatically affect their ability to comprehend certain methods of teaching. Unfortunately, personalized learning takes a lot of resources and a lot of out-side-the-box thinking by teachers. Personalized learning would be much more plausible for teachers if they taught for maybe 3 hours a day, had 5 hours of preparation time, and had around 15 or less students to a class. It is also tough to deviate from a standardized curriculum when the focus is so driven towards standardized testing. I hope that schools work towards more student-centered learning, but it’s a long slow road and is going to demand a lot of work and ingenuity from the teachers. I also think integrating technology into the classrooms will be essential in effectively creating a personalized curriculum for the students.
At Mount Edgecumbe High School we have an incredibly diverse population of students from 120 different villages from all over the state. In English classes teachers try to select books and texts that are from Alaska and relevant to the student’s culture. Math teachers write problems that incorporate images from interior Alaska so the that students can activate prior knowledge and connect a familiar image with the math content. For many students, proper English language is new and fairly challenging to understand. Fortunately, at MEHS, many students’ cultures are similar from around the State, which makes some unilateral adjustments across the school possible, but the personalities and needs of each student still vary immensely and require a lot of individual attention.
By Alex Weissberg