Personalized Learning as a Kind of Differentiated Instruction

I was not apprehensive at all about the idea of ‘personalized learning’ before I read this article.   Maybe I have been unfocused and the air was not right when I read it, but something in there made me step back a little bit.   Maybe my guards were down and I just took away what I was meant to, without regard for my need to argue with people, as a matter of course.

I love using student choice in academics, it is good for project work and it is helpful that kids are comfortable with it.   It is about not learning to please the teacher, but learning to learn.   Good teachers seem to prefer students creative problem solving to supplication anyways. No one has ever referred back to that great teacher who graded based on the proportional satiation they got when their students academically obeyed their instructions.   But student choice needs guidance, and thoughtful challenge, which is what good teachers do, right?

So many teachers are already doing this, some have been doing it for decades, the integrated technology and adaptive tech stuff has been part of the score for a long time.   The uncertainty and ambiguity of tech integration is hard for a lot of teachers, and there has to be all these extra resources dedicated to helping teachers not only learn new methods, but to be able to integrate them.   Some districts in Alaska have tech or STEM standards that require students to learn how to deal with and work through technological failure and ambiguity issues.   Students are learning how to be okay with not being able to define or control things.   Maybe that is part of the ‘Honoring the complexity’ bit.   Theoretically, I really do love everything about personalized learning.   It is the things that need to accompany it that seem scary to me.   Mostly in integrating and implementing the strategies.   I remember how mad teachers were when the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) became a district standard in Anchorage a couple years ago.   Literally, they were speaking about retiring because they thought that SEL was going to ruin their ability to instruct. I would imagine that PL would get just as much push-back.



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