Personalized Learning from an article by Ann Tomlinson


Since my days working with the US Navy I have considered and now support personalized learning.   They insisted the instructor do “everything possible’ to accommodate the learning styles of the student…every single one.   That is not possible in a class of any more than 3-5 students. Maybe, but, everything possible isn’t EVERY THING right now!   The author raises some very good point for consideration and discussion but also some questions that seem to get “dah’ for an answer.   I’ll try to stay away from the dahs and stick with the topic.

What is it?  “Glossary of Education Reform refers to so many different ideas, programs, and strategies that it’s difficult to determine precisely what it refers to without qualifications, specific examples, or additional explanation.’   It will likely be implemented with the measure once, cut 3 or 4 times method instead of measure twice cut once.   Thorough investigation will help implement but a bog awaits this one without impetus for change.   Personalized learning works for everyone.   That has to be in the definition somewhere.   If students don’t think what’s happening works for them then it doesn’t.   Keep moving and find what does.   It’s personalized, FOR EVERYONE, dah.

What supports will teachers need?   Lots.   But they won’t get it.   They know that because it happens everyday with taskers they are assigned to.   Who will help teachers retool?   Leaders should begin asking where they’ll get the sustained staff expertise necessary to support a paradigm shift in teachers’ beliefs, thinking, and practice.

Herein lies the problem with many similar scenarios.   Good leaders look forward to see change coming and prepare as best they can with what they know.   If they are busy in their offices, on their phones, or dealing with too many discipline problems …   The leader will be the cheer leader for the new paradigm.   That’s what leaders do.   They will be all things to all people involved until others come to their aid.   Where are parents in the change process?   Parents probably have the purest motives of the people involved.   They want their children to be the best equipped when they leave school.   If your methods prove “better equipped’ then they’ll be with you.   Aspects needing change will likely cover the gamit of teacher practice except arriving early and be prepared for class.   Informed action, judicious planning, deep study, and vigilance in seeking possibilities.   I agree with the author; “The dialogue about personalization gives me hope. On the other hand, it also gives me pause’.’s-Celebrate-Personalization@-But-Not-Too-Fast.aspx

Glossary of Education Reform. (2015). Personalized learning. Retrieved from

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why. New York: Portfolio/Penguin.


WEBSITE for further review–.:(

This site is a white paper of one method, for one class, for one school, in California.   It is very broad and covers very few points the author makes in our reading for today.   It is, though, one example of leadership, seeking personalization while focusing on student improvement, supporting the teachers, with coexisting paradigms, retooling their program, while using informed action, judicious planning, deep study, and vigilance in seeking possibilities.

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